MERC had constituted a six-member committee on May 16 to study the existing load shedding plan and suggest ways to make the state load shedding free. The director of MERC was the convener and representatives of consumer organizations Prayas and TBIA and consumer activist Pratap Hogade, MSEDCL's load management chief and head of state load dispatch centre ( SLDC).
The terms of reference were to analyse each and every MSEDCL division in terms of distribution losses, collection efficiency, trends in past three years, etc and then suggest a load shedding plan for 2012-13. The committee was asked to give its report by June 5.
However, Pratap Hogade, Shantanu Dixit (Prayas) and Ashok Pendse (TBIA) decided to boycott the committee's proceedings as in spite of clear evidence of violation of load shedding norms by MSEDCL. The Commission had convened a suo motu hearing on May 16 following a written complaint by Pratap Hogade and Prayas. However, it did not issue any directives to MSEDCL. It ordered constitution of a committee and scheduled the next hearing on June 30.
Hogade dispatched a letter to MERC on Saturday stating that the load shedding circular issued by MSEDCL on April 23 violated the principles of load shedding finalized by the Commission. Consequently, MSEDCL had also violated the directives of Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATE). Hence, there was no need for constitution of a committee and the Commission should straightaway take action against the distribution company.
Shantanu Dixit of Prayas also expressed similar views while talking to TOI on Monday. "As per norms MSEDCL cannot unilaterally decide a load shedding plan. This has to be done with the permission of MERC. What is the use of a committee when MSEDCL does not follow existing norms," he rued.
The consumer activists feel that making divisions with losses less than 34% completely load shedding free and imposing power cuts ranging from 5.30 to 11 hours in others was highly discriminatory.