A communication from the Union Power Ministry may make the state government think twice before using legal provisions to make Tata Power Company give Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) 500 mega watts of power.
Union Power Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, told Hindustan Times from New Delhi that he had written to all states to ensure power can be bought and sold without government interference.
“We want all states to ensure better business atmosphere by way of open access,” Shinde said.
The state government, therefore, cannot dictate terms to generations companies and force them to supply to a particular distribution company.
Shinde’s statement assumes significance because state Energy Minister Ajit Pawar met him in New Delhi on Wednesday. Pawar was not available for comments.
The Maharashtra government had planned to resolve the Tata-Rinfra row by invoking Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 2003, that makes a generation company ensure supply to a particular distribution company within the state.
When the state Legislature raised the issue, Pawar had said he will not hesitate to use the law if the situation demanded.
Shinde, however, has said the Maharashtra government was not thinking of using this legal provision.
Tata had decided to discontinue supplying power to Rinfra because of the absence of a formal agreement between the two.
Rinfra insists that Tata’s refusal to supply would impact city’s 28 lakh suburban consumers because it will have to buy expensive power to mitigate the deficit. Reliance also accused Tata of selling power outside the state. Tata has refuted the charge.
Tata Power Company (TPC), which will supply power to Reliance until April 30, has proposed to supply inexpensive power to at least three lakh Reliance consumers.
TPC said if the state’s directive is issued in Reliance’s favour, it will be against electricity sector reforms. It has threatened to challenge the directive.
The state’s high-level committee is busy resolving the row between the two utilities. It is expected to submit its report before April 30. Chief Minister, Ashok Chavan, and Pawar will take the final call.