SC stays Aptel hearing on Adani Power’s plea

By: | Published: November 12, 2014 12:39 AM

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed proceedings before the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity...

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed proceedings before the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (Aptel) which is hearing Adani Power’s appeal over certain unmet demands when power regulator Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) allowed it “compensatory tariff” for supplying power from its Mundra project  because of hike in imported coal prices.

A similar appeal by CGPL,  a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Power Company, whose Mundra power  station was allowed the compensatory tariff by CERC, also being heard by the tribunal, hasn’t been stayed,  as it is pending before another bench headed by Justice JS Khehar.

Adani Power and CGPL are demanding that the force majeure and change in law clauses in power purchase agreements should be factored in while deciding the compensatory tariff.

The tariff hikes could have been sharper if the CERC allowed these.  The companies also want the recovery of compensatory tariff for pre-March 2013 arrears.

Meanwhile, Adani’s counsel informed the the tribunal on Tuesday about the apex court’s directions on its appeal regarding condonation of delay in filing appeal against the CERC order.

The Aptel chairman remarked that it will now be not proper to continue further hearing and the matter was adjourned to November 28. The tribunal was hearing on day-to-day basis the firms’ pleas for compensatory tariff towards pre-March 2013 arrears as its chairman, Justice M Karpaga Vinayagam, is due to retire by the end of the month.

While the tribunal has posted the matter for hearing on November 28, the apex court will decide the issue on November 25. Both firms have sought hike in power tariffs on account of “unprecedented and unforeseen” circumstances leading to escalation in imported coal prices from Indonesia.

They had separately challenged a part of the April 2013 order (for non-invocation of force majeure) of the CERC before the Aptel, which rejected their pleas on the grounds of “inordinate delay” in filing appeals. CERC, while allowing compensatory tariff to CGPL and Adani Power last year, had asked the power procuring states to form a panel and decide on the quantum of compensation.

The committee, headed by HDFC Bank chairman Deepak Parekh, had recommended that CGPL be allowed an increase of 45-55 paise tariff in its Mundra plant. Based on the report, CERC had in February 2014 ruled power-generation companies be allowed to adjust the compensation arising out of the increasing cost of domestic fuel and rising dependence on costly imported fuel.

Subsequently, Aptel had on July 21 this year awarded the Tata Mundra UMPP  compensatory tariff at 54 paise per unit and Adani’s Mundra project had got compensatory tariff at 41 paise unit.

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