Gridco seeks 22% hike in bulk supply price

by Dikhyaa Mohanty

In what could have a spiralling impact on the household and commercial energy bills, the state-owned power trading utility Grid Corporation of Odisha Limited (Gridco) has asked for a 22 per cent hike in the bulk supply price (BSP) for 2023-24 over the tariff approved by the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) for the current financial year.

Filing its annual revenue requirement (ARR) and BSP applications for the coming financial year, Gridco has estimated a net revenue requirement of Rs 13,839.39 crore and to recover the cost, the proposed BSP needed to be fixed at 380.64 paise per unit.

Projecting energy requirement at 37,554 million unit (MU) including transmission loss of three per cent, the petitioner said that 38,453.07 MU will be available from different sources resulting in surplus of 898.66 MU. The company proposed to sell the surplus power at variable cost below real time rate in the energy exchange.

The regulatory commission had revised the average BSP from 296.26 paise per unit to 312.34 paise per unit for 2022-23 as against Gridco’s demand for a BSP of 385.21 paise per unit. Stating that it has faced cash deficit in the past due to non-cost reflective tariffs in BSP, disallowance of carrying cost of regulatory assets, receivables outstanding from distribution companies (discoms), Gridco said it met the deficit through working capital loans.

With a total outstanding loans with principal amounting to Rs 6563.86 crore as on March 31, 2022, the repayment liability of Gridco for 2023-24 is pegged at Rs 1,592.54 crore. While proposing to meet repayment liability from sale of surplus power, Gridco has requested the Commission to create a mechanism separate from BSP to meet repayment liability as the margin of trading will be insufficient to meet repayment obligation.

The state trading utility has further requested the Commission to allow a suitable mechanism to recover the shortfall towards erstwhile discoms receivable of Rs 7,128.60 crore pending till October 31, 2022. The outstanding fees are pending before the sale of CESU, WESCO, NESCO and SOUTHCO to Tata Power.

If the Gridco proposal is approved by OERC, it will have cascading effect on retail supply tariff which remained unchanged for the current fiscal. The existing tariff for low transmission category consumers is Rs 3 per unit for the first 50 units, Rs 4.80 per unit for consumption between 50 and 200 units, Rs 5.80 from 200 to 400 units and Rs 6.20 above 400 units.

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