CITING A severe cash deficit and adverse impact on the finances of state discoms amid the lockdown, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a financial package for the power sector. He also suggested a slew of measures to rescue Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) and others from the current crisis and ensure that consumers are not harassed or hassled.
The Power Finance Corporation (PFC), Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) Limited and other financial institutions should provide loans to the power sector at reduced rates of 6 per cent per annum for bridging the revenue gap, suggested the CM. He also recommended extension of RBI moratorium on repayment of outstanding loans and interest from the current 3 to at least 6 months. In addition, the applicable interest rate on deferred payment should be considered at concessional rate, he suggested.
The advice issued by Ministry of Power to CPSUs/ Gencos/Transcos not to use coercive measures to recover dues and continue supply/transmission of electricity being an essential service should be extended to at least 6 months, a statement quoted Amarinder as saying.
Other suggestions made by the chief minister are – reduction in coal prices, waiver of GST levied on coal cost and railway freight for FY 2020-21, waiver of capacity/fixed charges payable on account of capacity not scheduled due to load crash as well as 50 per cent reduction in inter state transmission charges for FY 2020-21 or at least the next 6 months. He further called for a maximum limit of 6 per cent per annum on late payment surcharge on delayed payments to generators & transmission licensees for the year 2020-21.
In a letter to the PM, Amarinder also sought reduction in Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) obligation for the previous and current fiscal, and withdrawal of must-run status for Renewable Energy (RE) power projects for FY 2020-21, or at least the next 6 months, so that low-cost power from alternate sources can be supplied.
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