Millennium Post

Odisha power blow: 3 Anil Ambani discoms get licences revoked

Odisha  power blow: 3 Anil Ambani discoms get licences revoked
There is bad news for Anil Ambani-controlled BSES Ltd, which has controlling stakes in two of the three power distribution companies in the national Capital. The Odisha power regulator OERC on Wednesday revoked licences of three power distribution companies controlled by another Anil Ambani-led company Reliance Energy for allegedly disobeying its orders on improvement in power supply efficiency.

Revoking the licence, Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) appointed state-owned Grid Corporation of Odisha (Gridco’s) Chairman-cum-Managing Director as administrator of the three discoms NESCO, WESCO & SOUTHCO, which transmits power to northern, eastern and southern areas of the state.

The Anil Ambani-controlled BSES Ltd, which is responsible for power distribution in South and East Delhi areas, too is facing heat as its books are being examined by the Comptroller and Auditor general for siphoning off profit to sister companies and not reinvesting in improving power infrastructure. Over an above this they also have outstanding unpaid bills running into several crores to be paid to the power generation companies.

While passing the order, the regulator in Odisha added that licences of Reliance Energy- owned discoms were cancelled for disobeying of previous orders of OERC on improvement in power supply efficiency among other reasons. The OERC order said the distribution companies have failed to invest in improving distribution infrastructure. The company was seeking frequent upward revision of tariff without caring for reduction of aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses. Similar charges are being faced by BSES in Delhi.

“The discoms did not invest anything from their own funds to improve infrastructure, which forced the Commission to revoke their licence,” Principal Secretary, Energy, Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, told reporters here. When contacted, Reliance Group did not offer any comment, said an agency report.

In 2005, the state government had revoked the license of the three discoms, who then challenged it and moved the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) and the Supreme Court. As performance of the companies never improved, the OERC had lodged a suo motu case against them along with a show cause notice asking why their licence should not be revoked. Mohapatra said though the discoms worked for 15 years, the improvement was not satisfactory. They were unable to bring down the AT & C losses, which stayed at 40 per cent in contrast to Delhi and Mumbai where the loss was only 15-20 %.
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