Multiple KERC orders confuse power experts

Concealment of orders by the power companies makes hearing redundant

 The reason: Confusion reigns because the High Court had dismissed one petition challenging the order and upheld another plea.

The first High Court order was on August 17, 2007 (MFA 3169). The Division Bench comprising of Justice Sreedhar Rao and Justice K L Narayanaswamy dismissed a petition by CV Gopala Krishna and others from Mangalore against the KERC order. The Bench observed that there was no merit in the contentions of the appellants, who had contended that the tariff order was not favourable to consumers.

Surprisingly, another petition by the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) and other ESCOMs (MFA 3456) challenging the same order of the KERC was upheld by the division bench comprising Justice Sreedhar Rao and Justice C R Kumaraswamy on November 7, 2008.

Neither the KPTCL nor any ESCOM cited the earlier petition dismissed by the Court. To make matters worse, the KERC and the respondents in both the cases were mum, adding to the confusion.

“This is really a confusion. We do not know why this has happened. If brought to the notice of the High Court, the Court would have taken a different stance, consumers would have benefitted,” said advocate Sridhar Prabhu, who is a power expert.

A V Amarnathan, counsel for the Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (KASSIA) said the Association was totally clueless about the hearing. Even the KERC website has not furnished any sufficient details on the hearing.

Revised tariffs?

On March 10, 2003, KERC had fixed a tariff of Rs 3.95 per unit (now Rs 4.15) for the first hundred units for LT 2B (domestic consumers), Rs 4.45 per unit (now Rs 4.65) for the next 100 units and Rs 4.70 per unit for the next 200 units (now Rs 4.90,). Exceeding this, the consumer should have to shell out Rs 5.05 per unit (now 5.25).

For the HT 2A category users, Rs 3.60 per unit was fixed as tariff for one lakh units consumed (Present tariff Rs 3.80 per unit) and for consumption beyond this limt, Rs 4.10 per unit (now Rs 4.30) was fixed.

For the Commercial and other high tension users under the HT 2B category, the tariff was fixed at Rs 4.35 per unit for the first one lakh units (now Rs 4.85) and beyond that consumption, the tariff was Rs 5.05 (Rs 5.15).

More confusion

More confusion was created by the KPTCL’s contention in its petition to the High Court, that the monsoon delay had to be taken into account while considering the power tariff. However, KERC, in its second order on December 15, 2003, had considered the demands of KPTCL and the power sector in general.

In KERC’s second order, the domestic tariff was revised to Rs 4.15 for the first 100 units, Rs. 4.65 per unit for the next 100 units, Rs 4.90 for the next 200 units and for above 400 units, the tariff was fixed at Rs 5.25 per unit.

The tariff also changed for HT 2A category users. The rate was fixed at Rs 3.80 per unit for the first one lakh units, and Rs 4.30 per unit for the next one lakh units. For the commercial category (HT 2B) consumers, for the first two lakh units, the tariff was stipulated at Rs 4.85 per unit and for consumption beyond two lakhs, the tariff was Rs.
5.15 per unit.

This is similar to what consumers are already paying now. “So, what is it that we need to pay or what sort of hearing do they further need?” wondered a power expert from the Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FKCCI) on conditions of anonymity.

Interestingly, neither the KPTCL, the KERC or any ESCOM has brought this to the notice of the High Court. In the spurt of litigations, all this could have been avoided, if they had told the High Court that the KERC had passed an amendment order in December 2003, felt the expert.

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