Consumers are being forced to pay a heavy price for regulatory mistakes, especially in the matter related to the two distributors — Tata Power Company and Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra).
The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) had issued a directive preventing Tata from supplying to retail consumers in 2002, following which Tata approached the Supreme Court and the court decided in its favour in 2008. The matter has come to the fore once again as RInfra’s has refused to allow Tata to use its network to provide power to migrated consumers. RInfra wants Tata to lay its own network.
MERC-approved consumer representatives reacted sharply to the development. Sandeep N Ohri slammed the regulator for its lopsided decision way back in 2002, following which Tata scrapped plans of laying its own network.
“If MERC had allowed Tata to continue supplying power, it is likely that RInfra’s rates would have been more or less at par with Tata, as competition would have forced them to do so,” said Ohri. Tata sells power at a much cheaper rate than RInfra.
He said Tata was already supplying power to many retail consumers in 2002 and had also laid down wiring in many other parts of the suburbs. “Tata put its plans on hold, incurring heavy losses,” he said.
When the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity upheld the MERC order, Tata approached the Supreme Court, which said in 2008 that Tata had a licence to supply to retail consumers all across Mumbai.
Another representative Rakshpal Abrol, who had intervened in the matter with Ohri, said that RInfra had agreed to the present arrangement of using RInfra network on payment of wheeling charges.
Vinayak Joshi, who took part in RInfra’s public hearing, said that RInfra had said that the duplication of network infrastructure was economically wasteful. “RInfra did a ‘U’ turn a day after getting licence for another 25 years,” Joshi said.