iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Dharmendra Jore, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, July 16, 2013
Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party public representatives have asked the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) to revoke Tata Power Company’s (TPC) distribution licence, alleging that the company failed to provide service to low-end consumers and did not lay its cable network in the suburbs.

Sena’s group leader in the legislative assembly Subhash Desai and BJP’s legislator Gopal Shetty had written letters to the regulator last month, seeking its intervention and protection for small consumers who want to benefit from TPC’s low tariff by disconnecting Reliance Infrastructure’s supply. Both legislators have been raising similar concerns in the state legislature.

“It is a fit case that commission immediately calls for revocation of TPC license and in the meantime take immediate steps to safeguard consumer interest,” said Desai in a letter to MERC chairman VP Raja.

TPC's license will be expiring in 2014. The company has increased its consumer base to 4.1 lakh from 26,000 in less than four years.

Shetty said that TPC has rejected applications from residents of slums based on trivial issues. “TPC has laid its network for high-end consumers but not for low-end consumers,” he said.

Reacting to the charges, TPC said that it has added around 8,000 to 9,000 consumers per month since August 2012. “The Company has also done steady network expansion with a focus on 11 clusters after receiving permission from MERC on August 22, 2012 after around ten years of limited or no permissions."

It added that the company has faced various challenges in laying its network such as delayed network laying/road-cutting permissions, non-availability of spaces, etc. “Moreover, there has been issue of fair weather of 7 months working due to monsoon. Taking these into consideration, Tata Power has successfully added more than 270 km of cable network and has secured a capital expenditure approval of approximately Rs1,000 crore from MERC to expand the network,” said TPC.