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Home News Power Sector News Delhi - Govt examining legal validity of DERC advice

Delhi - Govt examining legal validity of DERC advice

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DERCThe executive summary of the tariff advice of DERC which Delhi government received on 01-07-2010 having clearly stated that the concerned file had not been cleared by the two commission members despite repeated reminders and the advice in effect is therefore, just the opinion of the chairman, power department has sought the opinion of legal department to find out whether the advice will stand legal scrutiny. Off the record senior power officials say that according to the Delhi Electricity Reform Act 2000, a tariff advice or for that matter, any decision of DERC other than purely administrative ones, are not valid unless all three members sign it. The tariff advice that the government has received has been signed solely by DERC chairman Berjinder Singh.

The tariff advice says discoms have lied to the government about their financial position and they should be prosecuted for it. While the advice itself had raised hopes of a tariff reduction, what has raised questions about its validity is a paragraph which reads: "The Statutory Advice is being furnished on the basis of unanimous decisions of the Commission on the approach in principle for finalization of tariff orders for financial year 2010-11. The commission consists of two members and one chairman. A draft of the statutory advice was prepared by the secretariat of the commission and submitted to the commission on May 28, 2010, but the members of the commission have not cleared the file even after repeated reminders. As the matter has been delayed for about two months, the advice is being sent. All such decisions on principles were finalized unanimously after extensive deliberations in the commission and were then signed by both members and chairman. All deliberations are part of the record.''

Said a top power official: "The advice is signed only by the chairman which makes it just his opinion and not that of the commission. We are trying to decide the legal standing of the document but what is even more worrying is that of the three members, the two who have not signed on it are ones who have been associated with the sector for 30-40 years. Such a casual approach cannot be adopted in such a serious matter.''

Sources, however, say there may be some grey area which is why the law department's opinion has become necessary. While the advice itself has not been signed by the two members, whether records of the "deliberations'' mentioned in it can be taken into account is not clear. The Act clearly says: "All decisions of the commission shall be on the basis of majority of the members present and voting. In case of a difference of opinion among the members, the opinion of the majority shall prevail and the opinion of the commission shall be expressed in terms of the views of the majority. Each member of the commission shall have one vote only. The chairperson shall have no casting or second vote.''

Source- Times of India


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