Power distcos owe Rs 6846 crore to World Bank, Gridco, Odisha govt

Bhubaneswar: The four electricity distribution companies (distcos) of the state owe Rs 6846 crore to the World Bank, state government and government-owned Grid Corporation of Odisha (Gridco). This was stated by Energy Minister Dibya Sankar Mishra in the state assembly in reply to a question asked by Khandapara MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik today.

Mishra informed the House that Western Electricity Supply Company ( Wesco), Northern Electricity Supply Company (Nesco), Southern Electricity Supply Company (Southco) and Central Electricity Supply Company (Cesco), which was later named as Southern Electricity Supply Utility (Cesu) have an outstanding of Rs 3937.48 crore to Gridco towards bulk supply price (BSP) and loan as on March 31, 2019. Similarly, these four companies have to repay Rs 2908.55 crore towards World Bank loan and Government guarantee as on March 31.

Various legal proceedings have been initiated by the Gridco and Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) and these are pending in various courts, said the minister.

Giving a background of the power sector privatisation undertaken in the state, Mishra said the sale of 51 percent share of the above four power distribution companies were made in 1999 as part of power sector reforms. American company AES Corporation had purchased 51 percent share of Cesco at Rs 42 crore. Similarly, Bombay Suburban Electricity Supply (BSES) company (later known as Reliance Infra Pvt Ltd) had bought 51 percent shares of Wesco, Nesco and Southco at Rs 117 crore. The rest 49 percent share of these four companies lie with Gridco.

Later, AES quit the management of Cesco or CESU in 2001. Also, the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission cancelled the power distribution license of Wesco, Nesco and Southco on March 4, 2015, expressing displeasure over the work of these utilities, he said.

Replying to another query of Patnaik, the minister said the state government has spent Rs 5662.07 crore on the upgradation of power distribution infrastructure under various schemes. Similarly, Central government has incurred an expenditure of Rs 5829.09 crore for this purpose.

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