NTPC slapped notices on Assam govt for power dues: Governor
Governor Jagdish Mukhi

Guwahati: The country’s largest power producer NTPC had sent notices to the Assam government threatening to curtail power supply if past dues were not paid, Governor Jagdish Mukhi said on Monday.

Addressing the Assam assembly on the first day of the budget session, Mukhi said arrears of Rs 1,534 crore against power bills were still pending on the books of the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL).

“In the month of May, 2021, Rs 831 crore was pending as payment towards central power generating companies. NTPC issued notices for curtailment in power supply which could have resulted in massive load shedding across the state,” he added.

At that time, around Rs 600 crore was diverted from “schematic allocations” to meet the power purchase cost and other establishment liabilities, Mukhi said.

“The new government took over on May 10, 2021 and introduced several reform measures to turn around the discom,” he said.

APDCL is the sole discom in the state catering to over 66 lakh customers.

Mukhi said that regular payment has been made by all government consumers since June last year and the state government has paid Rs 174 crore for nine departments.

“Also, for other departments, the Assam government has released almost all pending energy dues, he added.

APDCL has been able to collect arrears of Rs 586 crore in the period from June 2021 to February 2022, the governor said.

“At the beginning of June 2021, outstanding arrears were Rs 2,120 crore. At the end of February 2022, it has come down to Rs 1,534 crore,” he added.

The APDCL has recorded eight per cent enhancement in terms of energy billing efficiency during the last three quarters of the current fiscal over the same period a year ago.

Speaking on the measures to streamline the power sector, Mukhi said that the government has converted Rs 4,290 crore of state loan and grant given to APDCL in past years into equity.

“Further, the state government has written off Rs 346 crore of unpaid interest. It has increased the credit worthiness of the balance sheet of APDCL,” he added.

Similar exercises have been carried out for the Assam Power Generation Corp Ltd (APGCL) and the Assam Electricity Grid Corp Ltd (AEGCL), he said.

Besides, the APDCL has already set up over 2.5 lakh pre-paid smart meters across the state and the installation works of 10 lakh more such meters are going on, Mukhi said.

He informed the House that Assam is the only state getting approval from the Union Power Ministry to revamp the existing infrastructure to bring down Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses to 15 per cent by FY’2024-25 at an investment of Rs 8,727 crore.

To ensure reliable power and voltage improvement, the state government has received Rs 3,284 crore loan from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to construct 200 new sub-stations and other infrastructure, he added.

Talking about revenue generation, Mukhi said: “APDCL has been able to collect Rs 4,964 crore against demand of Rs 4,720 crore during the period from June’21 to February’22 which is 105 per cent in terms of collection efficiency.”

He said that all the state-run power utility firms are expected to make “healthy profits” in this financial year due to various reforms in the sector.

Mukhi mentioned that the APDCL had incurred losses to the tune of Rs 600 crore during the COVID-19 pandemic in the 2020-21 fiscal.

Covid vaccination for children in 12-14 yrs group may begin this week

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