ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Friday said that it would announce decision on Aug 15 pertaining to the cases filed by the eight independent power producers (IPPs) seeking clearance of their dues.

On the other hand, IPPs have threatened to close their operations. Circular debt has crossed Rs400billion, their counsel told the court.  The verdict would be announced after analysing responses submitted by the Ministry of Water and Power and other private companies, a media report quoted the court as saying.

A three member bench, chaired by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heard the case. The Ministry of Water and Power and other private electric companies submitted their responses in the apex court.

The chief justice remarked that the government will have to give concrete recommendations pertaining to the payments to the IPPs. The SC adjourned the hearing till Aug 15 and declared that verdict would be announced then.

Earlier on July 4, eight IPPs moved the apex court seeking a direction for the government to clear circular debt in the energy sector. “Clearing a total of Rs61.4 billion outstanding dues will help ensure continued availability of electricity from the IPPs,” the petitions had said.

The petitions had been filed by Liberty Tech, Orient Power, Atlas Power Limited, Nishat Power, Nishat Chunian, Saif Power, Halmore Power and Sapphire Electric for the payment of outstanding dues of Rs11.131 billion, Rs4.121 billion, Rs10.478 billion, Rs9.661 billion, Rs10.899 billion, Rs5.722 billion, Rs2.415 billion and Rs6.974 billion, respectively.

The government has submitted before the Supreme Court that a payment of Rs 24 billion would be made to eight Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in three equal monthly installments of Rs 8 billion a month.

A counsel for Ministry of Water and Power submitted a report before the bench.

Khawaja Tariq Rahim, counsel for ministry, apprised the bench on a set of applications moved by IPPs, that payment schedule had been reached between them and the private power companies under which Rs8 billion had been paid out of total Rs24 billion whereas two further installments amounting to Rs8 billion each would be paid on August 30 and September 30 respectively.

The counsel for petitioners also submitted a report saying that the circular debt had reached to Rs 400 billion and warned that if the companies were not paid with the outstanding amount, the power generation could witness a reduction, adding to enhanced load shedding.