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Delhi power firm, targeted by Arvind Kejriwal, goes to Supreme Court

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New Delhi:  A Delhi power distribution company backed by Anil Ambani has moved the Supreme Court challenging a move to cut off power supply to it from Monday night over unpaid dues.

The court will take up the petition of power distributor BSES against state-run power producer National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) tomorrow. The NTPC had said that BSES Yamuna Power, which sells electricity in east and central Delhi, must pay its bills or it will be cut off from Monday.

The company asked the top court to step in citing “urgency” due to the impending power supply cut. Chief Justice of India, P Sathasivam, had asked, “Everything is happening in Delhi, only remedy is Supreme Court?”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has asked the region’s power regulator to revoke the licences of BSES Yamuna Power Ltd and BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, run by Mr Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, if they failed to supply power, drawing criticism from the companies. A tribunal yesterday said the firms’ licenses cannot be revoked without its permission.

The Reliance-backed companies were warned by the Delhi government that they must clear their bills with power providers and cannot threaten the city with large blackouts on account of a cash crunch. Reliance Infrastructure runs the distribution companies, with the Delhi government holding a 49% stake.

In the event of the licences being revoked, “suitable officers” would be appointed to administer the distribution companies and keep power switched on, the government said.

BSES Yamuna Power has already expressed its inability to pay state-run power generation companies citing lower tariffs and a shortfall in revenues.

The row could result in outages of up to 10 hours a day, it had warned, provoking Mr Kejriwal to allege “blackmail.”

The distributors contend that the regulator has failed to increase power tariffs in line with the rising cost of power, leading to a revenue loss of more than Rs. 15000 crore.

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