In a relief to around 1.5 crore residential power consumers, the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATE) has stayed a controversial directive by the state regulator, which allowed captive power generators to bank power with state power company Mahavitaran that they could demand back at any point.
Captive generators are industries that use at least 51% of power generated for their own use and sell the rest to any other user.
Mahavitaran officials said the tribunal’s decision would give consumers a relief of Rs900 crore. However, a tariff hike may still be in store, because, in a parallel case, Mahavitaran has asked the regulator to allow it to recover Rs2,800 crore from consumers.
The ATE decided on the issue on May 30. The ATE has asked Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) to decide the case on merit before arriving at a directive.
The order, if implemented, will allow the industries to bank power with Mahavitaran at a certain rate, and buy it back even when the market rates are higher. If Mahavitaran does have that much power to give at that point, it would have to purchase it prevailing rates, and recover the money from consumers.
Mahavitaran managing director Ajoy Mehta said, “The regulation would have impacted residential consumers. Since there is no mechanism to know when industries will draw power from us, we would have to pay more to get power or enforce cuts in non-industry areas.”
In another case that MERC is expected to hear, Mahavitaran has sought to recover Rs 2,800 crore from consumers. Top officials told HT their petition was based on delays and wrong assu-mptions by MERC while determining tariff and other charges.