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A crisis for the national capital from June due to BSES' inability to pay power suppliers such as NTPC seems to have been averted. State-owned Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) have approved fresh short-term loans, totalling Rs 1,000 crore, to BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani.
Sources in the power ministry told FE that both REC and PFC have approved short-term loan of Rs 500 crore each with a tenure of one year in favour of the two Delhi discoms. This can now be used by BYPL and BRPL to pay off dues to the tune of Rs 700 crore towards NTPC, the prime supplier of power (70%) to areas controlled by the two discoms. PFC approval includes Rs 250 crore each for BYPL and BRPL.
The loan demand from BSES demand before a group of financial institutions is to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore.
Non-payment of the dues sparked blackout fears for the Capital beginning first week of June with even the Supreme Court approving regulation of power by the NTPC in the event BSES firms failed to clear their dues towards the generation major by May 31.
The approval of the loan by PFC and REC has come after a comfort letter issued by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC). DERC told the financiers about the regulator's plan to liquidate Rs 11,431 crore of regulatory assets of the BSES discoms (as on March 2012).
The RAs would be reflected in DERC's tariff order for 2014-15. RAs are gap between a discoms revenue and cost that is recognised by the regulator that liquidates this through periodic increase in tariff or subsidy payment by the state government.
The two discoms of the Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Infrastructure supply power to 70% of the city's 3.2 million consumers. The discoms have claimed that they need to recover Rs 21,701 crore in past costs from Delhi's consumers to get enough cash to pay for their dues towards power suppliers.
Hearing a petition from NTPC, the Supreme Court had on May 6 directed the BSES firms to clear their Rs 700-crore dues by May 31. The firms had approached PFC, Rural Electrification Corp (REC), State Bank of India (SBI) and IDBI Bank for loans. While IDBI and SBI had refused, PFC and REC are currently looking at the discoms request for loans of Rs 500 crore each.
NTPC chairman Arup Roy Choudhury had last week reaffirmed the company's resolve to cut 2,000 MW of power supply to BSES discoms if the payments were not made by May 31.
NTPC chairman and MD Arup Roy Choudhury told FE recognised that payment issues by Delhi discoms was a serious one and he would take this up with the new power minister Piyush Goyal for a long-term resolution.
Even after a payment of close to Rs 700 crore in dues to NTPC, BSES discoms would continue to owe another Rs 400 crore for electricity purchases made in April. This will also need to be settled at the earliest. The BSES discoms owe close to Rs 6, 412 to different power generators supplying power to the national capital as on March 2014. Apart from NTPC, dues are also towards Pragati Power, Indraprastha Power, Delhi Tranco, Damodar Valley Corporation, Aravali Power.
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