Citing the severe cash deficit and adverse impact on the finances of the State Discoms amid the COVID-19 lockdown, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a financial package for the Power sector, while suggesting a slew of measures to rescue PSPCL and other from the current crisis and ensure that the consumers are not harassed or hassled in these difficult times.Power Finance Corporation (PFC), Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) Limited and other Financial Institutions should provide loans to Power sector at reduced rates 6% per annum for bridging Revenue Gap, suggested Captain Amarinder. 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.Further, said the Chief Minister, the advice issued by Ministry of Power, Government of India 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. Among the other suggestions made by the Chief Minister are reduction in coal prices, waiver of the 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% reduction in Inter State Transmission Charges for FY 2020-21 or at least the next 6 months. He further called for Maximum limit of 6% per annum on Late Payment Surcharge on delayed payments to Generators & Transmission licensees for the year 2020-21.In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister 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.
Alternatively all Renewable Energy power generators may be given option to supply power at weighted average variable cost of power purchased from conventional sources of power during the month, he added. Asserting that his Government was committed to providing uninterrupted 24x7 power supply to the people of Punjab, especially to all Healthcare Institutions, Captain Amarinder said the entire workforce of the power sector is currently mobilised round the clock. However, due to the restrictions imposed to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the communities, business and consumers are facing economic hardship and unable to pay their dues to the State Discom Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL). This, he said, had led to the cash deficit and financial hardship for the Discom, impairing its ability to meet daily expenses. At the same time, due to economic hardship, the consumers are seeking relief in electricity tariff, he observed, stressing that a financial package was urgently needed for continuity of this essential service and for the benefit of consumers .Besides directives to coal companies to discontinue any premium/incentive on bridge/flexi/long term coal linkage being availed for the year 2020-21, the Chief Minister called for complete materialization of coal linkage to Nabha Power Limited (NPL) and Talwandi Sabo Power Limited (TSPL). He also sought expediting of the amendment to the existing flexibility policy circulated by Central Electricity Authority (CEA) vide letter dated 8.6.2016, so as to enable the State of Punjab to ensure optimal utilization of its coal through diversion of its unutilized coal linkage to the more efficient State Independent Power Producers (IPPs).Along with several freight related concessions and waiver/reduction in Compensation Cess on coal, the Chief Minister suggested reduction in Capacity/Fixed charges by deferring Capital cost viz Depreciation, Interest, RoE etc., as also waiver of Capacity/Fixed Charges proportionate to partial capacity not being scheduled from Central Generating Stations and surrender by NTPC of costly powers from Central Pool.