Discoms' Outstanding Dues To Gencos Fall 11.2% To Rs 81,628 Cr In April

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Total outstanding dues owed by electricity distribution utilities or to power producers fell 11.2 per cent to Rs 81,628 crore in April 2021 from a year ago.

Distribution (discoms) owed a total Rs 91,915 crore to power generation firms in April 2020, according to portal PRAAPTI (Payment Ratification And Analysis in Power procurement for bringing Transparency in Invoicing of generators).

However, outstanding dues of towards electricity producers have been increasing year-on-year as well as month-on-month for years showing perennial stress in the power sector till February this year. It has started tapering off from March 2021.

Total dues in April increased sequentially compared to Rs 78,841 crore in March this year.

Total outstanding dues of had dipped 3.4 per cent in March this year from Rs 81,687 crore in the same month last year.

The PRAAPTI portal was launched in May 2018 to bring in transparency in power purchase transactions between generators and discoms.

In April 2021, the total overdue amount, which was not cleared even after 45 days of grace period offered by generators, stood at Rs 68,732 crore as against Rs 76,117 crore in the same month a year ago. The overdue amount stood at Rs 67,656 crore in March this year.

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 (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 Centre had also given some breathers to discoms for paying dues to gencos in view of the COVID-19-induced lockdown. The government had also waived penal charges for late payment of dues.

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 (PFC) and REC Ltd.

This was a government initiative to help gencos remain afloat. Later, the liquidity infusion package was increased to Rs 1.2 lakh crore and further to Rs 1.35 lakh crore. Under the liquidity package, over Rs 80,000 crore has been disbursed.

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

Overdue of independent power producers amounted to 53.04 per cent of the total overdue of Rs 68,732 crore of discoms in April 2021. The proportion of central PSU gencos in the overdue was 30.52 per cent.

Among the central public sector gencos, NTPC alone has an overdue amount of Rs 5,167.11 crore on discoms, followed by Damodar Valley Corporation at Rs 5,156.34 crore, NLC India at Rs 3,416.18 crore, NHPC at Rs 2,261.05 crore and THDC India at Rs 1,134.17 crore in April 2021.

Among private generators, discoms owe the highest overdue of Rs 18,608.11 crore to Adani Power followed by Bajaj Group-owned Lalitpur Power Generation Company at Rs 4,817.12 crore and SEMB (Sembcorp) at Rs 2,364.56 crore in the month under review.

The overdue of non-conventional energy producers like solar and wind stood at Rs 11,296.24 crore in April, 2021.

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