Appellate Tribunal for Electricity upset at lack of cooperation from Tangedco

It also records displeasure over the conduct of an official who appeared for the case pertaining to claim by D.B. Power for late payment surcharge

The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (Aptel) has expressed concern over the lack of co-operation from Tangedco in a case relating to payment of dues to a private power producer. It also recorded its displeasure over the conduct of a Tangedco official who appeared in the case.

Justice R.K. Gauba, judicial member, and Ravindra Kumar Verma, technical member, Aptel, noted that Balaji Srinivasan, Additional Advocate-General for Tamil Nadu, had informed Aptel that suitable administrative action had been taken and assured it of co-operation and decorum. “Expecting this assurance to be sincere, we drop the matter to that extent,” they said.

The case pertains to a plea by D.B. Power Ltd., which had a power purchase agreement with Tangedco.

Tangedco allegedly failed to make timely payments, forcing the company to claim a late payment surcharge. Tangedco allegedly failed to pay the late payment surcharge, and D.B. Power initially moved the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC).

The CERC granted three months to Tangedco to pay up and made the payment conditional upon the reconciliation of the bills. Aggrieved by the order, D.B. Power filed an appeal before Aptel.

After Aptel expressed displeasure, Tangedco submitted that the late payment surcharge, along with the interest for the period from December 1, 2015, to April 30, 2020, worked out to ₹158.78 crore, as against the company’s claim of ₹188.66 crore. It said it had so far paid ₹71 crore, and the balance was ₹87.78 crore.

Tangedco noted that it was in a serious financial crisis and was clearing dues to various stakeholders in phases. The State utility noted that the balance amount to be paid to D.B. Power was proposed to be settled in seven equal instalments.

The first would be paid within two weeks from February 3, 2021, and the rest in six instalments every month thereafter.

Aptel made it binding on Tangedco to make the payments in seven instalments and in case of any default, the entire balance would become recoverable in accordance with law. It also pointed to the ambiguity in the CERC’s order and hoped the CERC would be mindful of the need for clear findings on issues of liabilities between parties.

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