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Court asks NTPC, BSES to resolve dispute, report Tuesday

Posted on May 01 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, May 1 : The Supreme Court Thursday asked state-run power utility NTPC and private sector distributor BSES to mutually sort out their disputes over payments along with the regulator, and fixed Tuesday for next hearing the matter.

NTPC told the apex court bench of Justice S.S. Nijjar and Justice A.K.Sikri that the power distributor in the national capital was yet to pay its dues, while BSES strongly refuted the claim and said it had complied with the court order and paid Rs.601 crore.

During the hearing, it also emerged that there were discrepancies in the amount that NTPC claimed was owed to it by BSES. The Reliance Group-led BSES has to reply Monday.

In the interim, the court asked all the three parties, including the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, to resolve the matter and arrive at a consensus both in terms of the money payable and what has been paid.

As NTPC indicated that it will have to regulate the power supply, the court said it cannot resort to shut-down.

Earlier too, NTPC had threatened to cut supplies to BSES -- which distributes power to a significant part of the national capital through two of its entities, BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani. Then, too, the Supreme Court had said consumers must not be inconvenienced.

"This is not the right attitude to take," the bench had told NTPC counsel, referring to the notice to cut supplies the state-run utility had served on the two companies. "We have to look after the people of Delhi. The consumer should not suffer," it said.

During the hearing Thursday, counsel for DERC said the Delhi government last year asked it to cancel the licence of the BSEC Yamuna and BSES Rajdhana. But it refrained from taking any coercive action.

Seeking a modification in the earlier court order, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, who appeared for NTPC, told the court the dues were pending since Jan 1, 2014, billing cycle and BSES had not paid a penny. The other distributor did, he added.

This was countered strongly by senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, who appeared for BSES.

"It is incorrect to say we have not paid," he said, adding his client was also burdened by the fact that the government of Delhi owed BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna more than Rs.15,000 crore in dues.

NTPC counsel assured that the company will not discontinue power supplies to BSES, but regulate it. Observers believe this could lead to the residents of Delhi being subject to power cuts amid soaring mercury.

The bench directed the matter to be listed for Tuesday, May 6. In the meanwhile, it asked the Delhi government and DERC too to furnish their responses to the affidavit filed by the BSES.

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