ECONOMY

Discom Dues To Power Producers Rise 24% To Rs 1.36 Lakh Crore In December

Total dues owed by electricity distribution companies to power producers rose nearly 24% over a year earlier to Rs 1,36,966 crore in December, reflecting stress in the sector.

The distribution companies owed a total of Rs 1,10,660 crore to power generation firms in December 2019, according to portal Payment Ratification And Analysis in Power procurement for bringing transparency in invoicing of generators.

In December 2020, the total overdue amount not cleared even after 45 days of grace period offered by generators stood at Rs 1,27,498 crore as against Rs 97,835 crore in the year-ago period.

According to the latest data on the portal, total outstanding dues in December dipped on a month-on-month basis. In November 2020, the total outstanding dues of discoms stood at Rs 1,40,741 crore.

The overdue amount in December 2020 has decreased from Rs 1,27,539 crore in November 2020.

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

To give relief to power generation companies, the central government 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 in view of the 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 loans at economical rates from Power Finance Corporation and REC Ltd.

This was a government initiative to help gencos to remain afloat. Later, the liquidity infusion package was increased to Rs 1.2 lakh crore.

Overdue of independent power producers amount to 32.14% of the total overdue of Rs 1,27,498 crore of discoms in December. The proportion of central government-owned public sector units in the overdue was 33.57%.

Among the central public sector power generators, NTPC Ltd. alone has an overdue amount of Rs 17,947 crore on discoms, followed by Damodar Valley Corporation Ltd. at Rs 6,682.61 crore, NLC India Ltd. at Rs 6,124 crore, NHPC Ltd. at Rs 3,141 crore and THDC India Ltd. at Rs 2,022 crore.

Among private generators, discoms owe the highest overdue of Rs 16,878 crore to Adani Power Ltd., followed by Bajaj Group-owned Lalitpur Power Generation Co. at Rs 4,462 crore, Sembcorp Energy India Ltd. at Rs 2,736 crore and GMR at Rs 2,195 crore. The overdue of non-conventional energy producers like solar and wind stood at Rs 12,118 crore in December.

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