The state government and Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) are at loggerheads again. On Monday, the legislative assembly joined hands with the state in its fight with the commission.
The energy department wants MERC to do away with the provision to sell wind power at higher tariff rates to distributors other than the state company. The department said private producers had recovered their capital costs through incentives by the state in the last eight years.
The issue came up for discussion when legislators Pravin Darekar asked energy minister Ajit Pawar why consumers should suffer a tariff shock of Rs250 crore every year because of MERC’s decision. “MERC should think of consumers and not care about private producers,” Darekar said. In reply, Pawar said the state utility, Mahavitaran, was fighting the case before the MERC and it would take the case to its logical end. “These private parties have recovered their capital costs and have made huge profits. Now, we want them to sell us power at reasonable rates,” Pawar said.
Energy department officials said Mahavitaran’s demand was legitimate. “Consumers have paid to buy wind power at Rs3.50 to Rs4.50 a unit. This was done under the scheme to promote the renewable energy sector. When we paid them higher rates, our average rate for buying conventional power was Rs2 per unit.”