The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has summoned officials from Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited for a hearing in the first week of February after the state defaulted in payment for excess electricity drawn from the national grid at various intervals during the past two years. J&K power development department had also been summoned earlier this month for failing to pay up their dues.
As per Northern Regional Power Committee data at the end of November last year, Uttar Pradesh still needs to clear dues of around Rs 1,936 crore, including UI charges and deviation settlement charges, while the figure for Jammu & Kashmir stood at around Rs 196 crore. In comparison, Himachal Pradesh, the third in line with dues in Northern region, is only around Rs 41 crore in the red.
The regulator has written to Northern Region Load Dispatch Center to verify the net dues still owed by J&K, after its officials claimed in the hearing to have made a fraction of the payment. “We will be able to verify it within a week,” an official said.
Similar action had also been taken against the two states in the latter half of 2012, with Haryana and Punjab being among the others to face action.
States breaking grid discipline and overdrawing was a major cause behind the large scale blackouts in July 2012. Prior to the blackout, the northern region grid manager had also written to the central regulator regarding the continued overdrawals by state utilities from UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and J&K, saying that this was endangering grid security.
Between January and November 2014, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kerala, Punjab and UP have repeatedly overdrawn from the grid in quantities as high as over 2 million units a day, according to POSOCO.
“First, states don’t provide an adequacy statement, stating clearly their power requirement and how they plan to meet it. Secondly, we don’t have a reserve, even though National Electricity Policy mentions a 5 per cent reserve. Currently, we have set guidelines to avoid overdrawals, but states don’t follow them. Overdrawals have reduced over time, though. Previously they used to overdraw over 10 million units a day,” a POSOCO official said.
However, he added that while a few states overdrawing from the grid may not pose an immediate danger, a large number of states breaking grid discipline may lead to the kind of instability seen back in 2012.