Power Grid Corporation of India has filed a clarification/modification application before Supreme Court (SC) against Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) demand of around Rs 220 billion in past adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues.
As per the company, non-telecom revenue of PowerGrid i.e. power transmission and its related consultancy business constitute 98 per cent of revenue whereas revenue from the telecom segment is only about 2 per cent.
PowerGrid claims that it is a national long distance (NLD) and internet service provider (ISP) licensee and is regularly paying the applicable licence fee on AGR to DoT in line with terms and conditions of respective licence agreements. Further, as per the company, it has also been assessed by DoT up to 2013-14. To this end, PowerGrid has contested the demands before DoT and requested for its withdrawal, as the definition of AGR under NLD and ISP license agreements does not include such non-telecom revenue.
The company said that DoT has done provisional assessments for 2014-15 to 2017-18 and also reassessed for 2012-13 and 2013-14 and raised additional demand to the tune of Rs 219.54 billion in the past one year by addition of non-telecom revenue as miscellaneous income in AGR.
Moreover, the company said that DoT recently completed the assessment of NLD and ISP licenses for 2018-19 without addition of miscellaneous income and assessed a refund to PowerGrid.
As per PowerGrid, the dispute, regarding interpretation of AGR pending before the SC, was between DoT and Telecom Service Operators (TSPs), who were holding Unified Access Service License (UASL) and migrated from National Telecom Policy (NTP)-1994 to NTP-1999. However, the SC’s recent judgment on October 24, 2019 is not applicable/binding on PowerGrid as it was not licensee prior to 2001 and never held UASL.
The company also added that the definition of AGR as per NLD and ISP license agreements as well as nature of limited telecom activity of PowerGrid is completely different from that to the TSPs, which were before the SC.
The next course of action taken by PowerGrid will be based on the outcome of the application.