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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Capital blackout averted after CERC intervention

The threat of a blackout looming over the Capital due to the payment dispute between NTPC and BSES discoms has been averted, with the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) restraining the Central generator from cutting power supply to the discoms till the dispute is resolved. 
NTPC had threatened to cut power supply to BSES discoms in the Capital from December 31 midnight over non-payment of outstanding dues. NTPC’s generating stations meet 65% of the Capital’s power requirement. 
The Capital would have plunged into darkness at the onset of the New Year, but for the CERC’s timely intervention. The matter was brought before the CERC by the discoms who disputed NTPC’s claims. NHPC and Power Grid, too, were made respondents in this case because they also have similar disputes with discoms. 
The next hearing in the case is scheduled on January 5. NTPC has raised an additional bill of R428 crore on discoms to recover arrears following the provisional revision of tariff for Central generating stations by the CERC with effect from April 2009. 
However, discoms have disputed NTPC’s claims on the ground that the CERC is yet to issue a final order on tariff revision and, pending that, the latter cannot recover any arrears. The discoms submitted that they have been regular in paying their current bills. 
The discoms have also submitted before the regulator that NTPC’s insistence that discoms open a consolidated Letter of Credit (LC) to ensure payment for electricity supplied by all its generating stations to them is not in line with the Electricity Act 2003. 
They said they have no issue about opening separate LCs for each NTPC plant supplying power to them. 
“They have a prima facie case for grant of interim relief in the form of deferment of regulation of power supply. Apart from affecting the consumers of Delhi, regulation of power supply would create impediments for the petitioners to raise finances from financial institutions, which will not be in the interest of the respondents,” discoms argued.

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