Delhi may face huge blackouts, power companies have 10 days to pay up

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Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday derided the companies that supply power to Delhi for "blackmail". (File photo)

New Delhi:  The state-run power generation company National Thermal Power Corporation or NTPC on Saturday gave a supply suspension notice to BSES Rajdhani and BYPL, two of the three distributing firms or discoms in Delhi, from February 11.

NTPC says while BSES Rajdhani has not maintained a letter of credit of Rs 271 crore, which is needed to get supply of power from its power stations, BYPL has an outstanding of Rs 179 crore.

If the companies are not able to settle their dues within the stipulated time, it could lead to lengthy power cuts in East and Central Delhi.

The notice comes a day after another discom, BSES which is backed by Anil Ambani's Reliance Infra, said it no longer has the money to buy electricity from NTPC. NTPC says it is owed more than 150 crores till the month of December by BSES.

On Saturday, power prices were increased in Delhi by 6 to 8 per cent.

The BJP on Saturday protested against the hike in the national capital. "(Arvind) Kejriwal-led AAP had promised that after forming the government, they will reduce power price. Instead power tariff has increased by six to eight percent," said BJP Delhi unit chief Vijay Goel. (Read more)

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal derided the discoms for "blackmail". (Read more) He said these companies fudge their accounts to show losses. He also attacked the price hike, describing it as "a burden on the people" imposed pre-maturely. (Read Delhi government's school)

The threat of lengthy power cuts comes in the midst of exam season. "I usually study at night. Now if there is a power cut, how will I manage? My career depends on how well I do in these exams," said Shreya, who is readying for her Class 12 board exams.

Power distribution in Delhi was privatised in 2003. Since then, discoms have complained they are losing thousands of crores because they are forced to provide electricity at below-market rates.

Mr Kejriwal, who took over as chief minister of Delhi last month, has asked the national auditor to study the accounts of the three power companies.

Within days of taking office, he delivered on a pre-poll guarantee of halving the price of electricity till March 31.

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