CASH-strapped power companies which are reeling from the huge debt burden of banks are sinking deeper into a financial mess as their outstanding dues from state electricity distribution companies (discoms) have jumped by 25 per cent to Rs 39,498 crore in October 2018, official data shows.
If the outstanding dues from discoms of the past 60 days get added, the figures would rise to over Rs 50,000 crore, a senior power company executive lamented. The discoms' dues to power generation companies had stood at Rs 31,676 crore in October 2017, data on the PRAAPTI (Payment Ratification And Analysis in Power Procurement for Bringing Transparency in Invoicing of Generators) website shows. The website was launched by the government in May last year to bring transparency in payments.
Discoms are taking a as many as 16 months to make payments, the portal showed.
While UP tops the list with 537 days delay in making payments, Delhi takes 519 days and is followed by Maharashtra (518 days), Karnataka (517 days), Rajasthan (516 days), Tamil Nadu (515 days), Telangana (514 days) and Andhra Pradesh (514 days).
The outstanding dues of public sector thermal power companies account for over 55 per cent of the total amount of Rs 39,498 crore that state discoms are holding up. Power utility giant NTPC has been the worst hit with dues of Rs 15,661.31 crore followed by NHPC which is owed Rs 3,011.67 crore and Damodar Valley Corporation with Rs
AS far as private sector power companies are concerned Adani Power tops the list with outstanding dues from discoms at Rs 6,878.94 crore, followed by Bajaj Group-owned Lalitpur Power Generation Company Ltd at Rs 1,861 crore, GMR at Rs 1630.40 and Sembcorp Energy at Rs 1,712.32 crore among the private generators.
Senior officials of thermal power generation firms said while the issue of 30,000 MW stressed assets are yet to be resolved, the staggering amounts stuck in unpaid bills have started impacting cash flows of many companies. Citing reports, they added that recently Lalitpur Power Generation Company faced issues in paying salaries to its nearly 3,000 staff and meeting their operations and maintenance requirements.
The officials are of the view that accepting the recommendations of the Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha-headed high level empowered committee which camw out in favour of a bill discounting mechanism that could resolve the issue of unpaid bills. The Sinha Committee had recommended that public finance institutions may discount the receivables from discoms and make an upfront payment to the generators.
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