The appellate tribunal for electricity's refusal to expunge the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission's (MERC) observation that Reliance Infrastructure consumers had to pay high tariff owing to its failure in procuring power at reasonable rates a couple of years ago has started a fresh tussle between RInfra and Tata. Last week, the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATEL) refused to oblige Reliance Infrastructure, which had sought adverse remarks by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) in an order in May 2011 be removed.
The order related to Tata Power stopping the supply of 762 Mw of power to Reliance Infrastructure, which hit the latter's consumers. While Tata Power had claimed it had warned Reliance Infrastructure earlier to ensure it made alternate arrangements, the latter said stopping supply would deprive its customers of cheap power.
Tata, has in its statement, claimed that the tribunal has yet again vindicated its contention that RInfra consumers paid more money because of RInfra's failure in discharging its obligation to procure power at reasonable rates and provide competitive consumer services. "Even though RInfra had sought to challenge the MERC's order, where Tata Power was a party, it deliberately chose not to make Tata Power a party before the tribunal. Tata Power had to specifically apply to become a party and bring all relevant facts to light," the company said.
Refuting the charges, RInfra said, "Tata Power, after agreeing in writing, suddenly withdrew power meant for Rinfra's consumers in Mumbai. RInfra's power purchase cost was lower than TPC during the entire business plan period as approved by the MERC."
The tribunal passed the order on April 17 and upheld the adverse remarks and findings against Rinfra's conduct as a distribution licensee that were earlier made by MERC through an order dated May 19, 2011.
The case had become a talking point when Tata Power Company and RInfra were locked in a fierce tariff war. RInfra had then bought power from Tata, which later refused to supply saying that there was no power purchase agreement between the two companies. Lakhs of RInfra consumers have switched over to Tata ever since.