Peeved over the non-recovery of outstanding power dues from Grid Corporation of Odisha Ltd (Gridco), the bulk power purchaser, Sterlite Energy Ltd said it was staring at an imminent shutdown of the second unit of its 2,400 MW coal-fired plant at Jharsuguda.
Sterlite Energy is running four 600 MW units of which the second unit was dedicated to the state grid. Recently, the Vedanta Group had raised a power bill demand of Rs 744 crore. This included Rs 610 crore dues of Sterlite Energy and the balance Rs 134 crore arrear of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd’s captive power plant. “We have been struggling to operate our power plant at Jharsuguda and supplying power to Gridco. We are currently passing through an unprecedented liquidity crunch and are afraid that we shall not be able to continue operation any further. Hence, we request you for immediate payment of our dues or else we shall be constrained to shut down the unit,” A K Samal, senior vice president, Sterlite Energy wrote to P K Jena, state energy secretary.
When contacted by Business Standard, Jena said, “There is dispute regarding the power bill demand raised by the Vedanta Group. We have urged Gridco to get the matter sorted out through discussions with the company authorities. We hope that the matter will be resolved soon.”
It may be noted that Vedanta Resources chairman Anil Agarwal during his recent meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had requested the state government to clear the power dues. Gridco, however, had contested the company’s claim. Gridco said, out of Rs 610 crore bill demanded by Sterlite Energy, the company would only get Rs 169.5 crore towards supplying electricity to state grid. The rest Rs 440 crore is disputed as it is based on unsettled tariff and other issues, it observed.
While Vedanta has charged Rs 3.42 per unit of power supplied from its independent power plant, Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has fixed a provisional tariff rate of 2.75 per unit
“There is disagreement over tariff fixation (between Gridco and Vedanta) which amounts to around Rs 340 crore. Besides, another Rs 100 crore payment due is yet to be decided by OERC,” said a senior energy department official.
Gridco also maintained that there was no amount outstanding for supply of power from Vedanta Aluminium’s captive power plant.
“The amount we owe to Vedanta’s captive unit is nearly equal to the amount it has to pay us for availing emergency electricity from its second unit, which is dedicated to state supply. Since the emergency power charges are higher, Rs 134 crore bill is almost settled,” Gridco sources informed.