Powercom engineers ask PSERC to take suo motu petition regarding pending government payments : The Tribune India

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Powercom engineers ask PSERC to take suo motu petition regarding pending government payments

Government departments owe PSPCL Rs 2,764 crore electricity bills

Powercom engineers ask PSERC to take suo motu petition regarding pending government payments

According to PSPCL officials, the actual subsidy payable due for domestic consumers will increase by minimum Rs 500 crore for the last financial year. File photo



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 PSEB Engineers Association has asked Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) to take suo motu petition regarding pending payments by Punjab government and its departments to safeguard the interest of the public in large as this is expected to cross Rs 4,000 crores.

In a letter shot 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 defaulting amount due to PSPCL by Punjab Government departments and non-government consumers stands at Rs 4,580 crore.

The government department owes 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.4240 crores”, he stated.

“Also, the participation of government departments in the various OTS schemes, launched by PSPCL, has been negligible. As per official PSPCL records, the four big defaulters are the water supply and sanitation department with Rs 1,079 crore, Local government Rs 991 crore, Rural development and Panchayat 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 defaulting amount”, said the letter.

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 crores.

As per PSPCL website, regarding subsidy to be paid by the government, the state power corporation limited has received Rs 18,276 crores 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.

According to PSPCL officials, the actual subsidy payable due for domestic consumers will increase by minimum Rs 500 crore for the last financial year. 

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 has to take additional loans 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 preferring anonymity.

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