New Delhi: The capital’s power distribution company BSES on Monday said that the Supreme Court has restrained Delhi power utilities IPGCL, PPCL and DTL from cutting off power supply to it and ordered them to maintain status quo till further orders.
The discom’s allocated quantum of power from the IPGCL and the PPCL is 845MW and this is essential for them to provide continuous and reliable power supply, it said.
The BSES claimed that the judgement has prevented black-outs in the national capital during the festive season, thereby protecting the interests of around 5 million power consumers or around 2 crore residents of south, east, west and central Delhi.
According to the BSES, the order was passed on September 28 by the Supreme Court on a fresh application(s) filed by the discoms, seeking a direction to IPGCL, PPCL and the Delhi government to act in accordance with the court’s earlier orders and not take any coercive steps against them, including regulation of power supply/action under the LPSC Rules, 2022 till disposal of their related petitions.
The discoms said that they were constrained to approach the Supreme Court in the aftermath of Delhi power utilities arbitrarily seeking alleged payment of dues and threatening disconnection of supply to them.
The SC, by its orders of March 26, 2014 and May 12, 2016 – regarding payment of current dues – had granted protection to the discoms against any coercive action, and the these actions of the Delhi power utilities were in violation of these orders, it said, adding that in compliance with the SC orders, BSES discoms have been making payments to Delhi power utilities, after taking into account the subsidy sanctioned by the Delhi government.
The discoms’ petitions also raised issue of the liquidation of the regulatory assets proposed by the DERC, or the amount due to discoms by the regulator for keeping the electricity tariff artificially low by deferring the recovery of costs incurred – ad issue which is also pending before the SC.
In case the amount due to the BSES discoms was allowed by the DERC in a timely manner, there would not have been delay in making payments to the Delhi utilities, the application stated.
According to the writ petitions before Supreme Court, the difficulties faced by them in making timely payments to suppliers are due to the regulatory inactions, policies, and failure on part of the DERC to arbitrarily keep the tariff artificially low.
These difficulties faced by them, it said, have nothing to do with the efficiency of their operations and management and the situational challenges were beyond their control and not attributable to them.
During their arguments, BSES discoms’ counsel Kapil Sibal and Dhruv Mehta argued that any restriction of power supply would lead to power disruptions and blackout in Delhi in case of withdrawal of short-term open access or regulation of power from the Delhi state power utilities, which will seriously jeopardise the energy security scenario in the capital.
In July this year, BSES discoms had offered one-time settlement under the aegis of DERC, but both in mid September, IPGCL and PPCL had taken a categorical stand that they do not wish to even sit for any settlement talks with the discoms, states the application.