karnataka: Rs 1,000 crore dues: Centre withholds 1000MW power to Karnataka | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Karnataka might be headed towards a power crisis with the central government withholding 1,000MW of power over non-payment of dues, reports Sandeep Moudgal. The Centre’s decision follows a clean-up aimed at making states accountable for energy consumed.
The state is now raising funds to pay Central Generating Stations (CGS) of the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC). Karnataka, which has five electricity supply companies (escoms), owes CGS over Rs 1,000 crore.
According to senior government officials, non-payment of dues means 1,000 MW will not be available ahead of the post-monsoon season beginning October-end.
Govt will put equity into escoms: Addl chief secy
With coal capacity down to no more than two or three days and the Centre withholding 1,000MW, Karnataka could face a serious power crisis,” said a government official.Energy minister V Sunil Kumar said: “CM Bommai has talked to the Union ministry about the withheld power. We convinced him of the need for a special package to pay the Centre and the finance department okayed it,” he said.
Additional chief secretary (energy) G Kumar Naik said the government will now put equity into escoms and they will approach financial institutions to close old loans and take fresh ones at a cheaper interest rate to repay the Centre. “It’s a win-win situation as escoms’ financial health will improve in the long run and loans will be repaid. However, the matter is with the finance department; we’re yet to receive official communication,” he said.
Government officials suggest management of books and seeking fresh bank loans may take some time and it could take at least two months to revive the central power share. In the short run, due to copious rainfall and lack of demand, the state may tide over the crisis thanks to 13 hydel stations and renewable energy distribution. Sources suggest thermal power plants are running at a bare minimum capacity to cope with the coal shortage. “With our hydel stations generating at maximum capacity and demand for power from agriculture sector low, it’ll be a matter of months before we see a spike in requirement,” said an energy department official.
Currently, the state’s average demand is pegged at 8,000-8,500MW per day and it’s estimated to double in the next two months with Covid-19 threat subsiding and resurgence of economic activity.

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Sagar Biswas

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