SC seeks reply from Centre, others on CGPL tariff plea

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 10 2014, 08:23am hrs
The Supreme Court on Thursday sought reply from the Centre, CERC and various state distribution companies on an appeal filed by Coastal Gujarat (CGPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Power Company, seeking to recover compensatory tariff, including pre-March 2013 arrears, allowed by the regulator from discoms concerned.

While CERC on April 15, 2013, had allowed CGPL compensatory tariff for power sold from its 4,000-MW Mundra UMPP in Gujarat in view of an unexpected increase in imported coal cost, it had rejected CGPLs prayers for such an increase due to the change in law in Indonesia and Force Majeure which led to escalation in the imported coal price. Effectively, this meant the arrears mentioned above cant be recovered.

CGPL had earlier challenged the relevant part of the April 2013 order of the CERC before the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, which on September 15 rejected its plea on the grounds of lack of bonafide diligence, negilence and inordinate delay of 374 days in filing the appeal.

Aptel had on July 21 this year awarded Tatas Mundra UMPP, run by CGPL, a compensatory tariff at 54 paise per unit and Adanis Mundra project at 41 paise unit. While it allowed both the firms to recover power dues from March 2013 on account of rise in imported fuel cost, it restrained them from recovering any pre-March 2013 arrears.

A bench headed by justice JS Khehar on Thursday sought reply on CGPLs plea from the power ministry, CERC and the discoms concerned of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana. It also posted the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.

Challenging the Aptels order that refused to condone delay in filing appeal against the CERC order, CGPL said that the impuned order destroyed its right to pursue its remedy, qua the violation of its legal rights (rejection of its claim under Change in Law and Force Majeure in terms of the PPA) on these technicalities, despite it having acted bonafide in pursuing the possibilities of arriving at an acceptable solution rather than resort to parallel proceedings distracting from the settlement.