Distribution companies (DISCOMs) owed ₹122.49 billion (~$1.65 billion) to renewable energy generators (excluding disputed amounts) in overdue payments across 384 pending invoices at the end of January 2021, according to data released by the Ministry of Power (MoP).
The figures were slightly higher than those reported for December 2020 when DISCOMs owed renewable energy generators ₹121.12 billion (~$1.64 billion) across 380 invoices.
According to MoP’s payment ratification and analysis portal (PRAAPTI), outstanding payments (excluding disputed amounts) to renewable generators in January stood at ₹3.41 billion (~$46.12 million).
The DISCOMs paid ₹21.5 billion (~$290.7 million) against outstanding dues and ₹104.02 billion (~$1.41 billion) toward overdue amounts during January 2021, registering an increase of 39% and 28.9%, respectively, compared to December 2020.
Overdue outstanding amounts are payments that have been delayed by over six months.
A noteworthy announcement that was made recently by the Ministry of Power on late payment surcharges states that a DISCOM which has a late payment surcharge outstanding against a bill after the expiry of seven months from the due date will be debarred from procuring power from a power exchange or grant of short-term open access until such bill is paid. It will be interesting to watch how this announcement will impact the pending dues to generators in the future.
As of January 2021, 66 DISCOMs owed 232 power generators ₹1.271 trillion (~$17.26 billion) against 23,304 overdue invoices in January 2021, compared to ₹1.275 trillion (~$17.30 billion) in December 2020. At the end of the month, the outstanding amount stood at ₹108.31 billion (~$1.47 billion), a decrease of 14.4 % compared to ₹94.68 billion (~$1.28 billion) in December 2020.
Rajasthan continued to have the largest backlog among the states, with overdue payments to the tune of ₹416.06 billion (~$5.63 billion). Out of the total amount, ₹391.13 billion (~$5.29 billion) has been overdue for more than 60 days.
Tamil Nadu followed closely with an overdue amount of ₹193.67 billion (~$2.62 billion), out of which ₹184.97 billion (~$2.5 billion) was overdue for more than 60 days.
Other states that performed badly included Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Delhi.
Jharkhand, West Bengal, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Manipur were termed as the ‘Best’ states in terms of ease of payments by the DISCOMs in January 2021. Gujarat, Telangana, and Tripura were termed ’Good’ in terms of payments by the DISCOMs.
Non-conventional energy generators who were owed the most by the DISCOMs included Tata Power Company, Adani Green Energy, NLC India, and Hero Future Energies with ₹ 23.59 billion (~$319.06 million), ₹12.009 billion (~$162.4 million), ₹11.35 billion (~$153.5 million), and 8.08 billion (~$109.29 million) respectively.
In December last year, the Association of Power Producers complained that Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) was forcing them to accept heavy discounts on dues payable. In a letter to Union Power Minister R.K. Singh, the association said that TANGEDCO had asked independent power producers to provide a 50% discount on late payment surcharge dues and a 20% discount on pending fixed charge amounts.
Rakesh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, he worked in many roles as a business correspondent, assistant editor, senior content writer, and sub-editor with bcfocus.com, CIOReview/Silicon India, Verbinden Communication, and Bangalore Bias. Rakesh holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). More articles from Rakesh Ranjan.