Industries upset over government move, plan to question tariff revision

KERC cannot be approached as it amounts to abuse of law

As the power utilities filed their Expected Revenue for Consumption (ERC) seeking a tariff revision of 51 paise per unit, the Industrial Sector and legal experts are already of the opinion that the revision is not maintainable as it amounts to an abuse of the process of law.

The tariff revision of the electricity supply companies and the KPTCL filed on Tuesday has already run into rough weather.

The power experts and industrial sectors are questioning its legality, since the multi year tariff order (2007) by Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) that had gone against the Electricity Companies, is still pending before the Appellate Tribunal of Electricity (ATE).

Power pundits say that the companies cannot approach KERC for an amendment as it amounts to abuse of law. “ It is nothing but abuse of the process of law as the order of KERC is stayed by the Tribunal, the upper court. The companies are now seeking the amendment of the stayed order again in the lower court, without even evicting the stay,” said Sridhar Prabhu, the power expert and advocate, who deals with electricity matters.

The multi-year tariff order for the years, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 by KERC during the year 2007, which directed for a reduction of 10 paise per unit, is stayed by ATE following a petition by the Electricity Supply Companies (ESCOMS). The ESCOMS had challenged the order and obtained a stay in 2007.

Experts say that in case the power companies want an amendment, they need to file an annual performance review, by showing the uncontrolled costs (Power Purchase Agreements). “The KERC in turn, will approve the revision. But uncontrolled costs are not shown, as the matter is in the tribunal,” he explained. “ If the ESCOMs are interested, let them get the stay vacated and then move for amendment,” says another counsel.

The tariff revision of 51 paise too is also likely to be questioned as the experts feel that the cost of the service of each company as well as the PPA differs.

“ It appears that all the ESCOMs have ganged up against consumers. Let the companies introspect themselves, because few like Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) and Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (MESCOM) are in good position. We do not understand why they need a tariff revision.”

The Industries which expressed similar opinion said that they are not sure about its maintainability. However, they are waiting for the completion of validation process, so that KERC will satisfy itself and call for public objections.

“We have doubts about its maintainability, but  we will wait for KERC to call for objections,”said M G Prabhakar of FKCCI.

However Chairman K P Pandey said that he will look into the matters pertaining to its legalities.

He said that the matter will be disposed off within 120 days from the date of calling objections.

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