Power outstanding dues touch Rs 14,164 crore

AT&C LOSSES, POWER THEFTS DRAIN J&K'S EXCHEQUER
A senior Power Department official said that for years, power theft mainly had resulted in over 56 percent Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses for both the power distributing companies of Jammu and Kashmir.
A senior Power Department official said that for years, power theft mainly had resulted in over 56 percent Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses for both the power distributing companies of Jammu and Kashmir.File/ GK

Srinagar: Power liabilities on account of power purchased from outside utilities have reached a staggering Rs 14,164 crore due to mismatches in power purchases and revenue collection that are depleting J&K's exchequer.

Greater Kashmir was informed by a top Power Department official that J&K's outstanding electricity debt has reached Rs 14,164 crore and that the government is having trouble paying it off because of a revenue shortfall resulting from power purchases and revenue collection.

“J&K purchases power for an average of Rs 7500 crore per year from the central government’s power generation companies including National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), and other companies such as J&K Power Development Corporation Limited (JKPDCL), Aravali Power Company Pvt Ltd, NPCIL-Tarapur Atomic Power Station, NPCIL-Kakrapar Atomic Power Station, and Khari Hydro Power Project Pvt Ltd (IPP) while the government only receives a pitiful Rs 3200 crore in annual power tariff payments from citizens and businesses. It means annual power purchase losses of a record Rs 4300 crore. The government is paying 12 percent to 18 percent interest on the liabilities owed on account of power purchases, which has grown over time to Rs 14164 crore,” the official said. “It is primarily caused by substantial AT&C losses and power thefts, which are depleting the government coffers while also denying legitimate customers access to the 24-hour power supply that the government sometimes promises.”

A senior Power Department official said that for years, power theft mainly had resulted in over 56 percent Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses for both the power distributing companies of Jammu and Kashmir.

“AT&C losses for Jammu Power Distribution Corporation Limited (JPDCL) in 2019-20 were 50.57 percent, 52.17 percent in 2020-21, and 50 percent in 2021-22. A staggering 74.06 percent loss was experienced by Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL) in 2019-20 followed by losses of 69.01 and 65 percent in 2020-21 and 2021-22,” he said.

The official said that the J&K government had now been given an opportunity to clear the unpaid power debt in 40 installments by the central government through the Late Payment Surcharge and Related Matter Rules 2022 (LPS Rules).

“However, the condition for this scheme is that the J&K government should not default on the payment of any installment and also pay power purchase bills that the Power Department will purchase in the coming days on time. If the administration fails to fulfill this condition, the scheme will forfeit and J&K will face a reduction of 50 percent in power share from the central grid,” he said.

The official said that in addition, J&K has the lowest electricity rates in the nation and that there have not been any changes to these since 2016.

“The J&K government has spent Rs 5000 crore on upgrading the power infrastructure during the previous three years while receiving less revenue,” he said. “The main reason Kashmir could experience both electricity and snow at the same time whereas Jammu division this summer experienced no load shedding is because of infrastructural upgradation done by the government.”

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