SC allows NTPC to cut power supplies if Delhi BSES discoms fail to pay dues by May-end

The Supreme Court has allowed the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to stop supplying power to BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna if the discoms do not pay dues of Rs690 crore for electricity purchased by 31 May, opening the possibility of a blackout in the Capital.

The two power distribution companies, owned by Anil Ambani-headed Reliance ADAG, have not paid for the power purchased from NTPC since January this year.

The apex court warned that discoms that any failure to pay the dues within the prescribed time would result in the vacation of the stay on disconnection notice served by NTPC.

"The petitioners (BSES) are directed to make payment as indicated in the documents placed on Tuesday as per the March 26 order. We make it clear that if the above amount is not paid by May 31, the stay will be vacated," a bench comprising Justices S S Nijjar and A K Sikri said.

The apex court said that the issue of recovery of past dues would be dealt separately.

Appearing for the ADAG companies, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi submitted that they do not have money to pay NTPC as the Delhi government had not paid it Rs14,000 crore due in the past.

BSES said that Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had agreed to a road map for payment of dues in a staggered manner over six years but NTPC wanted the payment to be made in three years.

NTPC's counsel said NTPC will not be in a position to continue power supply if the dues are not cleared.

"Why should NTPC be the victim?'' he asked.

The apex court had on 26 March extended the 7 February interim order to NTPC that there will be no disconnection in the supply of electricity to BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna over the issue of non- payment of outstanding dues.