Total dues owed by electricity distribution companies to power producers rose nearly 24 per cent to Rs 1,36,966 crore in December 2020 compared to the same month a year ago, reflecting stress in the sector.
The distribution companies (discoms) owed a total of Rs 1,10,660 crore to power generation firms in December 2019, according to the 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 generators and discoms.
In December 2020, the total overdue amount, which was 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 the electricity supply. After that, outstanding dues become overdue, and generators charge penal interest on that in most cases.
To provide 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 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 (PFC) and REC Ltd.
It was a government initiative to help gencos to remain afloat. Later, the liquidity infusion package was increased to Rs 1.2 lakh crore.
Discoms in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Haryana, and Tamil Nadu account for a major portion of dues to power gencos, the data showed.
Overdue of independent power producers amounted to 32.14 per cent of the total overdue of Rs 1,27,498 crore of discoms in December. The proportion of central PSU gencos in the overdue was 33.57 per cent.
Among the central public sector power generators, NTPC alone has an overdue amount of Rs 17,946.97 crore on discoms, followed by Damodar Valley Corporation at Rs 6,682.61 crore, NLC India at Rs 6,123.78 crore, NHPC at Rs 3,141.43 crore, and THDC India at Rs 2,022.23 crore.
Among private generators, discoms owe the highest overdue of Rs 16,878.25 crore to Adani Power followed by Bajaj Group-owned Lalitpur Power Generation Company Ltd at Rs 4,462.10 crore, SEMB (Sembcorp) at Rs 2,735.62 crore, and GMR at Rs 2,195.12 crore. The overdue of non-conventional energy producers like solar and wind stood at Rs 12,117.78 crore in December.