Discom dues dip 17% in 5 months as fear of power ban spurs timely payment

NEW DELHI: Bills of generation companies (gencos), transmission utilities and power traders pending with states have come down by Rs Rs 24,680 crore, or 17% of the outstanding till June, since the power ministry imposed new rules linking electricity access to timely payment of current dues and offered an instalment scheme to clear accumulated dues.
The state distribution companies (discoms) have also cleared Rs 1,68,000 crore in current bills in the five months since the new rules were implemented, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Timely payment of just four instalments under the instalment scheme brought down the outstanding amount to Rs 1,13,269 crore from Rs 1,37,949 crore as on June 3, when the new rules kicked in.
Five states have taken Rs 16,812 crore loan from power ministry’s sectoral lending institutions PFC and REC to pay the installments of Rs 24,680 crore. Eight states have opted to make their own arrangement. Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam Ltd is the only utility which faces regulation, or curtailment in access to electricity, for non-payment of current dues.
The ministry implemented the “The Electricity (Late Payment Surcharge and Related Matters) Rules, 2022” (LPS Rules) to check runaway discom dues towards gencos, transmission utilities and electricity traders that threatened the viability of the sector.
The rules allow clubbing of all outstanding dues as on June 3, including principal, late payment surcharge etc. into a consolidated amount to be paid in interest-free equated monthly installments. The number of EMIs was capped at 48, based on the quantum of dues.
The rule also provides cutting access to supply for non-payment of current dues by discoms one month after the due date or two and half months after the presentation of power bill, whichever is later.
Armed with these rules, power minister R K Singh had recently said the outstanding dues of discoms towards generation companies, which remains over Rs 1 lakh crore at any point, will be eliminated in four years.

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