Total dues to power gencos by discoms rise over 29% in October 2020

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Total dues to power generating companies by electricity distribution companies rose by over 29 per cent year-on-year in October 2020 to Rs 1,38,187 crore.

Given the lockdown restrictions which led to a significant drop in revenue from commercial and industrial consumers, the revenue gap for discoms is estimated to increase by Rs 300 billion in FY21, ICRA estimates.

This is lower than earlier estimated due to the better-than-expected recovery in demand. But the FY21 loss would rise sharply if the revenue gap estimate is not allowed as ‘Regulatory Asset’, ICRA said.

Distribution companies (discoms) owed a total of Rs 1,06,734 crore to power generation firms in October 2019, according to the portal PRAAPTI (Payment Ratification And Analysis in Power procurement for bringing Transparency in Invoicing of generators). The portal was launched in May 2018 to bring in transparency in power purchase transactions between the generators and discoms.

In order to give relief to power generation companies (gencos), the Centre enforced a payment security mechanism from August 1, 2019. Under this mechanism, discoms are required to open letters of credit for getting power supply. The central government had also given some breathers to discoms for paying dues to power generating companies (gencos) in view of COVID-19-induced lockdown.

The government had also waived penal charges for late payment of dues in the directive. In May, the government announced Rs 90,000 crore liquidity infusion for discoms under which these utilities would get loan at economical rates from Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and REC Ltd. This was an initiative of the government to help gencos to remain afloat. Later the liquidity infusion package was increased to Rs 1.2 lakh crore.

Discoms in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Haryana and Tamil Nadu account for the major portion of dues to power gencos, data showed.

Overdues of independent power producers amount to 34.19 per cent of the total overdue of Rs 125,743 crore of discoms in October. The proportion of central PSU gencos in the overdue was 34.57 per cent.

Among the central public sector power generators, NTPC alone has an overdue amount of Rs 19,749.72 crore on discoms, followed by NLC India at Rs 6,694.42 crore, Damodar Valley Corporation at Rs 5,921.81 crore, NHPC at Rs 2,932.48 crore and THDC India at Rs 2,010.89 crore.

Among private generators, discoms owe the highest overdue of Rs 20,242.44 crore to Adani Power followed by Bajaj Group-owned Lalitpur Power Generation Company Ltd at Rs 4,002.54 crore, GMR at Rs 2,190.86 crore and SEMB (Sembcorp) Rs 1,866.50 crore. The overdue of non-conventional energy producers like solar and wind stood at Rs 11,072.88 crore in October.

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