State-owned discoms' outstanding dues to gencos shoot up to Rs 282 bn

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A spike in power demand has increased woes of power generators, as the procuring states are delaying their payment. The total outstanding amount by state-owned power distribution companies (discoms) stands at Rs 282 billion, which has been delayed by more than six months. The highest share in this amount is of independent power producers (IPPs) at Rs 198 billion. 

The outstanding amount in August is the highest since the beginning of the fiscal when it was close to Rs 170 billion. In fact, there has been a steady increase in the outstanding amount April onwards. State-owned power generator NTPC has the second highest outstanding bill, at Rs 39 billion. An NTPC official said the payment by some states is delayed, but no one has defaulted as of yet and the company is hopeful of full recovery. 

The situation has left private players worried. Already reeling from 30,000 Mw of stressed assets — most of which are in distress due to payment woes — these units are anticipating worse. 

“The outstanding payments to IPPs from discoms have shown an increase of 40 per cent in the last four months. This progressively increasing backlog is having a debilitating impact on cash flows of developers and impairing their capacity to meet debt obligations. A solution needs to be found to clear this huge backlog and ensure prompt payments in future to avoid further NPAs in the power sector,” said A K Khurana, director general, Association of Power Producers (APP), the representative body for private power players. 

Power demand has witnessed a spike recently. In the last quarter, the demand growth was 7.67 per cent and in October, it crossed 12.6 per cent. During the last month, the spot power price touched a record high of Rs 18 per unit. While the spot power market accounts for barely 3 per cent of the total market, it is indicative of demand supply trends.

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