BHUBANESWAR: The Nikhila Orissa Bidyut Shramik Mahasangh, an umbrella body for power sector employees in the State, is up in arms against Tata Power for its move to engage Shyam Indus Power Solution Pvt Ltd as a distribution franchise in five divisions of the company’s central area.
Gurgaon-based Shyam Indus Power Solution (SIPS) is the bidder for distribution franchise for five divisions - Angul, Talcher, Jagatsingpur, Paradip and Puri - of Tata Power Central Odisha Distribution Ltd (TPCODL).
The State has a bitter experience with SIPS which as an input-based distribution franchise of erstwhile Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) from 2013 to 2018 had not only violated the agreement but also defaulted in payment of about Rs 300 crore to the utility.
As per the agreement with CESU, two subsidiaries of SIPS - Riverside Utilities Pvt Ltd (RUPL) and Seaside Utilities Pvt Ltd (SUPL) - were entrusted the responsibilities of distribution-related activities and the task of reducing AT&C losses by 15 per cent (pc) over a period of five years. The two companies were in franchise operations in Athagarh, Cuttack, Salepur and Nimapada divisions.
The AT&C loss of the four distribution divisions of CESU was more than 60 pc at the time RUPL and SUPL took up the specified commercial activities. The AT&C loss reduction achievement of the franchise operators at the end of the agreement period was in the range of one to three pc in the four divisions. Finally, CESU terminated the agreement with SIPS.
“It was subsequently found out that the two franchise operators had not deposited around Rs 300 crore electricity bills collected from the consumers in CESU accounts. Instead of responding to the notices of CESU, the distribution franchise moved to the Orissa High Court in 2018 claiming a due of Rs 600 crore from the utility,” said general secretary of the Mahasangha Akshay Tripathy.
The State government and the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission were made parties to the case by the petitioner, he added. When the matter is under arbitration, engagement of Shayam Power as distribution franchise is not in the good interest of the State. Besides, moves are on to write off the Rs 300 crore due to CESU (now TPCODL) from SIPS and this will be opposed tooth and nail by the Mahasangha, Tripathy cautioned. Several attempts to get TPCODL response to the development proved futile.