Govt depts owe PSPCL Rs 2,764 crore, allege powercom engineers’ body : The Tribune India

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Govt depts owe PSPCL Rs 2,764 crore, allege powercom engineers’ body

Association asks regulatory body to take suo motu notice of pending payments

Govt depts owe PSPCL Rs 2,764 crore, allege powercom engineers’ body

The populist free power subsidy scheme and delayed payments in lieu of that has made the cash-strapped Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to go for loans to meet expenses and also delay salaries and pension in the recent past.



Tribune News Service

Aman Sood

Patiala, May 15

The populist free power subsidy scheme and delayed payments in lieu of that has made the cash-strapped Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to go for loans to meet expenses and also delay salaries and pension in the recent past. Now, the Punjab State Electricity Board Engineers’ Association (PSEBEA) has asked Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) to take suo-motu notice regarding pending payments by the Punjab Government and its departments to safeguard the interest of the public in large as this is expected to cross an amount of Rs 4,000 crore.

Rs 4,240 crore due in total

According to Punjab State Electricity Board Engineers’ Association’s general secretary Ajay Pal Singh Atwal, the total amount due to PSPCL by Punjab Government departments and non-government consumers stands at Rs 4,580 crore. The government departments owed Rs 2,764 crore to PSPCL for electricity bills at the end of financial year 2023-24 and non-government pending dues are Rs 1,815 crore. At the end of last financial year 2022-23, the defaulting amount was Rs 4,240 crore.

In a letter to the regulator, Ajay Pal Singh Atwal, PSEBEA general secretary, alleged that PSPCL has stopped publishing complete information regarding payment of subsidy to be given/due from the Punjab Government. “The total amount due to PSPCL by Punjab Government departments and non-government consumers stands at Rs 4,580 crore. The government departments owed Rs 2,764 crore to PSPCL for electricity bills by the end of financial year 2023-24 and non-government pending dues are Rs 1,815 crore. At the end of last financial year 2022-23, the defaulting amount was Rs 4,240 crore”, he stated.

“Also, the participation of government departments in the various OTS schemes launched by PSPCL, has been negligible. Despite three extensions, none of the departments came forward to clear the dues,” said the letter.

As per official PSPCL records, the four big defaulters are the Water Supply and Sanitation Department with Rs 1,079 crore, Local Government Department with Rs 991 crore, Rural Development and Panchayat Department with Rs 334 crore and Health Department with Rs 148 crore. These four departments cumulatively owe Rs 2,554 crore, which is 92.4 per cent of the total amount.

The other departments with significant dues are the Sewerage Board (Rs 78 crore), Home Affairs and Jails (Rs 23 crore) and Public Works (Rs 21 crore).

As per PSPCL website, regarding subsidy to be paid by the government, PSPCL had received Rs 18,276 crore last financial year against budgetary support of Rs 20,243 crore. Thus, the pending subsidy amount for last year is Rs 1,963 crore. The subsidy paid included Rs 8,881 crore for agriculture, Rs 6,818 crore for domestic consumers and Rs 2,576 crore for industry.

Short of funds, the PSPCL had taken a loan of Rs 800 crore to meet its statutory financial requirements, mostly due to political compulsions. “The fact of the matter is that the PSPCL had to take additional loan of Rs 800 crore in January 2024 to avoid default in payment of power purchase and other statutory payments,” confirmed a top PSPCL official privy to the developments. “Loans have to be taken for payment of power purchase cost, coal cost, railway freight and other unavoidable expenditures,” said the official.

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