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Discoms’ outstanding dues to power gencos rise 37% to Rs 1.33 lakh cr in August

Power producers’ total dues owed by distribution firms rose over 37 per cent year-on-year to Rs 1.33 lakh crore in August 2020, reflecting stress in the sector.

Distribution companies (discoms) owed a total of Rs 96,963 crore to power generation firms in August 2019, according to 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 August 2020, the total overdue amount, which was not cleared even after 45 days of grace period offered by generators, stood at Rs 1,20,439 crore, as against Rs 78,646 crore in the year-ago period.

According to the latest data on the portal, total outstanding dues in August increased on month-on-month basis as well. In July 2020, total outstanding dues of discoms stood at Rs 1,30,452 crore.

The overdue amount in August 2020 has increased from Rs 1,17,637 crore in July 2020.

Power producers give 45 days to discoms for paying bills for the supply of electricity. After that, outstanding dues become overdue and generators charge penal interest on that in most cases.

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 the 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 and Tamil Nadu account for the major portion of dues to power gencos, data showed.

Overdues of independent power producers amount to 32.07 per cent of the total overdue of Rs 1,33,062 crore of discoms in August. The proportion of central PSU gencos in the overdue was 36.61 per cent.

Among the central public sector power generators, NTPC alone has an overdue amount of Rs 20,113.04 crore on discoms, followed by NLC India at Rs 6,450.50 crore, Damodar Valley Corporation at Rs 5,470.57 crore, NHPC at Rs 3,390.34 crore and THDC India at Rs 1,977.96 crore.

Among private generators, discoms owe the highest overdue of Rs 20,121.85 crore to Adani Power followed by Bajaj Group-owned Lalitpur Power Generation Company Ltd at Rs 2,957 crore, SEMB (Sembcorp) Rs 1,776.31 crore and GMR at Rs 1,930.16 crore.

The overdue of non-conventional energy producers like solar and wind stood at Rs 10,908.65 crore in August.

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