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CESC lenders `happy' over Bengal regulatory panel order

Our Bureau

Mr Sanjiv Goenka, Vice-Chairman, CESC Ltd, at the company's 24th AGM in Kolkata on Friday.

KOLKATA, Dec. 20

THE tariff order given by the West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBERC) in the case of CESC making it the only power utility in the country with a tariff structure which is devoid of cross-subsidisation, is likely to have a neutral effect on the cash-strapped utility's revenue.

Stating this Mr Sanjiv Goenka, Vice-Chairman, said that hopefully these rates were the final ones having gone through the High Court, the Supreme Court and WBERC.

Talking to the press after the AGM, he indicated that CESC's lenders with whom the company was now engaged in a dialogue to restructure its debt were happy over the order.

The meeting, which was CESC's 24th AGM, took place under heavy police arrangements as the company feared disruption by some political elements in the wake of the tariff order.

Mr Sumantra Banerjee, CESC's Managing Director, said that adjustments to the tune of around Rs 50 crore might have to be made by CESC on account of the single tariff announced by the commission.

However, there would be no cash outgo since refunds would cancel out recoveries.

He admitted that CESC had not got down to making any firm calculations since it received the order only earlier this week and it would like to await the developments in this regard.

Earlier addressing the shareholders, Mr Rama Prasad Goenka said that CESC's efficiency had improved and it had taken some effective steps to combat the menace of power theft.

Although there were no annual accounts to be torn apart by the `analyst' shareholders, there was sizeable attendance at the AGM which threatened to turn acrimonious since the equity holders were left to place their views using only their lung power in the absence of microphones.

They were also keen to know as to when their company would return to the dividend list. To this, Mr Sanjiv Goenka replied that would take some time.

Some shareholders demanded a poll on the resolutions placed before them regarding the appointments of some directors. Altogether four such resolutions would be put to vote on Saturday and the results would be announced on Monday, Mr Goenka said.

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