Power supply to ECL mines cut off for non-payment of bills
19 December 2011statesman news service
ASANSOL, 19 DEC: Production in the coal mines of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) ~ Kenda, Kajora, Sodepur & Satgram ~ came to a complete standstill today after Dishergarh Power Supply Corporation (DPSC) snapped power supply to the ECL over alleged non-payment of bills worth Rs 63.88 crore.
The ECL, a sick coal major, has been struggling hard to overcome its operating losses.
This, according to senior ECL officials, has hit production, the estimated loss being Rs 1 crore a day. Senior Coal India Limited (CIL) officials have been informed of the matter as the production loss of about 2,500 MT a day has posed a threat to the PSU-owned thermal power stations. Power supply to nearly 5,000 residential quarters of ECL employees was also cut.
The CMD, ECL, Mr Rakesh Sinha, said the company is planning to move Calcutta High Court against disconnection of power supply. "The ECL had also moved against the DPSC Ltd for incorrect billing and a case is already pending with the ombudsman for overcharging in power consumption," Mr Sinha said.
The legal dispute between the ECL and the DPSC is pending with the Tariff Regulatory Commission for some months now. The GM (technical services), ECL, Mr Niladri Roy, said: "They didn't intimate us before raising the tariff which we found to be grossly irregular. Since the matter is yet to be sorted out, the DPSC has no right to discontinue power supply to our mines ex-parte."
Interestingly, the generation of power by the DPSC at the Dishergarh and Chinakuri plants came to a halt a month back after the ECL had stopped supply of coal to the power utility on similar grounds ~ non-payment of dues worth Rs 13 crore. The chief engineer of DPSC, Mr KK Taran, said: "Power generation at four of our units in those two plants had to be suspended following an acute shortage of coal. We require 410 MT of coal everyday to help generate 38 MW from the two plants." The DPSC, which is required to supply 85 MW to the ECL everyday, has been arranging power from the grid supply of the West Bengal State Electricity Transmission Company Limited and the Damodar Valley Corporation alternately since 21 November after its generation units had to be shut down for want of coal.
Unlike the ECL, the DPSC Ltd is not suffering from any financial crunch. In August, the DPSC recorded a 4.17 per cent rise in net profit over the first quarter of 2011-12. Its net sales for the quarter ending 30 June stood at Rs 152.64 crore, registering a 55 per cent growth over Rs 98.20 crore it had registered for the corresponding period last year.