Shaken up by the threat of Sterlite Energy Ltd and its sister concern Vedanta Aluminium to stop power supply to Grid Corporation of Orissa (Gridco) for non-payment of power supply dues, the cash-strapped state utility has started groping for money to pay off the outstanding bills of the two Vedanta group companies.
In a letter to Gridco, Sterlite Energy had said it may shutdown the second unit of its 2,400 MW coal-fired plant at Jharsuguda, which is dedicated to the state grid. Both SEL and VAL together had raised a claim of about Rs 744 crore towards the unpaid bills. This included Rs 610 crore dues of SEL and Rs 134 crore arrear of VAL’s captive power plant.
Gridco, however, has contested the company’s claim. It said, Vedanta has demanded Rs 3.42 per unit of power supplied while the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has fixed a provisional tariff rate of 2.75 per unit for year 2011-12 and 2012-13. Calculated on OERC’s provisional tariff rate, the outstanding amount would be about Rs 300 crore, which includes Rs 230 crore of SEL and Rs 70 crore of VAL. It pointed out that the rest of the amount is disputed as it is based on unsettled tariff and other issues.
Meanwhile, Gridco is currently in the process of availing Rs 500 crore loan from Power Finance Corporation (PFC), which will help it to pay the dues of Vedanta. “PFC has sanctioned a loan of Rs 500 crore for us, but they are yet to decide the rate of interest. We hope, within two weeks we will be able to get the money and pay the dues,” said Bibhu Prasad Mohapatra, finance director of Gridco.