MERC Admits MSEB Petition On Drawal Of Dabhol-I Power

Mumbai, November 4 | Updated: Nov 5 2003, 05:30am hrs
The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), in a significant development, has admitted the Maharashtra State Electricity Boards (MSEB) petition seeking resumption of Dabhol phase-I (658 mw) power purchase at the per unit tariff of Rs 2.80 at 83 per cent plant load factor (PLF). MERC has convened hearing on MSEBs petition on November 19.

MERC sources confirmed this move and told FE that notice relating to the ensuing hearing would be served shortly to the concerned parties. MSEB, during last hearing held on October 8, had strongly pleaded that its petition filed on August 13, 2002 be proceeded expeditiously and said that the Commissions order would not impinge on the ultimate decision in arbitration initiated by Dabhol Power Company (DPC).

However, DPC has vehemently opposed MSEBs petition since the matter is sub judice. MSEB, which was supported by the rupee lenders consortium led by Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), argued that there is everything to be gained by public at large by MSEB and by the financial institutions, if the idle asset is put to work on terms and conditions decided by the Commission.

The offtake petition is one of the several steps, that might be taken, if Dabhol plant is revived. Considering this, MSEB reiterated that the Commission should proceed further.

MSEB argued that both under the Electricity Act 2003 and the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act (ERCA) 1998, the arrangement with regard to offtake of power is with in the Commissions exclusive jurisdiction. Therefore, various controversies involving the interpretation and implication of section 22(2) of ERCA with regard to disputes between the utilities, and mandate under the same Act to refer the matter to arbitration, have no nexus with the said petition at all.

MSEB submitted that its petition is falling within the ambit of section 22(1) of the ERCA, and the jurisdiction issue raised in the other case by DPC, should not detain MSEB since the present matter is within the Commissions exclusive jurisdiction, being purely a tariff matter.However, DPC submitted that it wanted to know the grave urgency behind the resumption of power generation at the Dabhol plant and supply of its power to MSEB. DPC further said that it has taken the matter relating to the MERCs jurisdiction, adjudicating the disputes between DPC and MSEB, to the Supreme Court.