Bhubaneswar: The State Government has sought concrete steps by the Centre to help the power sector and distribution companies (Discoms) in the State which have been severely hit by the Covid-19 crisis.
In a letter to Union Power Minister RK Singh, State Energy Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra said the pandemic has led to an unprecedented crisis causing hardships to communities, commerce and industries.
“In Odisha, there is a reduction in power demand as many of the industrial and commercial units have been shut down or are partially operating. Though lifting of lockdown has led to some uptick in economic activity, the demand from the commercial and industrial consumers continues to be low,” he has stated.
Saying that the economic activities would remain subdued during the whole 2020-21 financial year, Mishra has stated, “Such prolonged reduction in power demand will continue to worsen the financial condition of the Discoms.”
To help the Discoms, he has made a number of suggestions such as special rebate by the Centre in power purchase and reform measures and extension of loans from Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) for liquidity infusion at a reduced rate of interest.
The applicable rate of interest of 9.5% is high which would become a burden on consumers, Mishra has argued. Suggesting that loans be extended at a rate compared to the rates charged by the banks, he has suggested that the REC/PFC extend loan to the Gridco at a reduced rate of 6% per annum as this largest Discom’s estimated cash deficit for 2020-21 is about Rs 3,600 crore.