HC order on FSA dues jolts power utilities

HYDERABAD: The AP High Court judgment against Electricity Regulatory Commission (ERC)  order to collect around Rs 3,000 crore dues from the power consumers in the name of fuel surcharge a

Published: 22nd January 2012 04:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:19 PM   |  A+A-

HYDERABAD: The AP High Court judgment against Electricity Regulatory Commission (ERC)  order to collect around Rs 3,000 crore dues from the power consumers in the name of fuel surcharge adjustment (FSA)  came as a bolt from the blue for power utilities who are under obligation to pay power utilities the extra cost that the latter incur due to inflation in generation of power.

The state-owned power utilities are in financial crisis and have no money to pay up and as a result they chose to pass it on to the consumers. The FSA dues are related to 2008-09 and 2009-10. Once these FSA was collected from the consumers, the power utilities were planning to collect another Rs 4,000 crore from the consumers for 2010-11 and 2011-12 years.

The ERC order was challenged in the High Court stating that the power utilities should submit the FSA details for every quarter and it could not collect the dues of the previous years.

Now, the officials are wracking their brains on how to overcome the problems.

“I am yet to get the copy of the High Court order. After studying it we will be able to take a decision,” APTransco chairman and managing director Ajay Jain told Express. Asked wether they would approach the Supreme Court challenging the HC order, Jain said: “So far no decision has been taken. We will take decision after studying the HC order.’’ But sources said the utilities were examining the option of moving the Supreme Court. Sources said that without collecting the FSA the power utilities would not be able to meet the commitment they had made to the power producers and it is anybody’s guess to what extent the state government would help them out if the utilities are not allowed to  collect it from the consumers.

Quick on the uptake, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu said: The power utilities are on the verge of bankruptcy. The Congress government has brought the utilities to this stage by not hiking the power tariff and not subsidising to the fullest extent the extra burden that falls on them.”

Naidu demanded the state government to release a white paper on power purchase by the Congress government.

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