Discoms’ outstanding dues to power gencos rise 47% to ₹ 1.33 lakh crore in June

Power producers’ total outstanding dues owed by distribution firms rose over 47% year-on-year to ₹ 1.33 lakh crore in June 2020, reflecting stress in the sector.

Distribution companies (discoms) owed a total of ₹ 90,655 crore to power generation firms in June 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 June 2020, the total overdue amount, which was not cleared even after 60 days of grace period offered by generators, stood at ₹ 1,20,041 crore, as against ₹ 72,362 crore in the year-ago period.

According to the latest data on the portal, total outstanding dues in June has increased over the previous month. In May 2020, the total dues of discoms stood at ₹ 1,26,963 crore.

The overdue amount in June 2020 also increased from ₹ 1,13,869 crore in May 2020.

Power producers give 60 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 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 ₹ 90,000 crore liquidity infusion for discoms under which these utilities would get loan at economical rates from Power Finance Corporation and REC Ltd. This was an initiative of the government to help gencos to remain afloat.

The government reportedly is in the process to increase liquidity infusion package to ₹ 1.25 lakh crore after it received requests from some states in this regard.

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

Overdues of independent power producers amount to 34.78% of the total overdue of ₹ 1,20,041 crore of discoms in June. The proportion of central PSU gencos in the overdue was 36.58%.

Among the central public sector power generators, NTPC alone has an overdue amount of ₹ 19,298.77 crore on discoms, followed by NLC India at ₹ 6,280.76 crore, Damodar Valley Corporation at ₹ 5,570.99 crore, NHPC at ₹ 3,518.97 crore and THDC India at ₹ 2,551.32 crore.

Among private generators, discoms owe the highest overdue of ₹ 22,319.41 crore to Adani Power followed by Bajaj Group-owned Lalitpur Power Generation Company Ltd at ₹ 3,884.91 crore, SEMB (Sembcorp) ₹ 2,210.22 crore and GMR at ₹ 1,930.16 crore.

The overdue of non-conventional energy producers like solar and wind, stood at ₹ 10,111.33 crore in June.

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