The ongoing tussle between Tata Power and Reliance Infrastrucrure (R-Infra) to lure consumers in Mumbai is expected to become even more embittered. Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has ordered transfer of Reliance Infrastructure's (R-Tnfra) 7.92 lakh low-end residential consumers with monthly power consumption of 0-300 units to Tata Power's distribution arm from November 1.
MERC has asked Tata Power to supply electricity to these new low-end consumers from the R-Infra distribution network. Tata Power will pay to R-Infra wheeling, regulatory asset charges and other costs.
However, R-Infra had approached the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATE) challenging MERC's order. ATE has not stayed MERC's order but will hear R Infra petition on December 17. In the meanwhile, as per ATE's order, R Infra has again approached MERC for extending the time line for transfer of its consumers to Tata Power. The hearing is slated for November 8 at MERC.
Tata Power spokesman said ''Tata Power is studying the order.'' On the other hand, R-Infra spokesman stated "R-Infra approached ATE, as time-span given to implement MERC directives were too short and inadequate."
Currently, of the 4.25 lakh consumers, Tata Power is supplying power to 2.50 lakh low-end residential consumers. However, R-Infra's low-end consumer base will fall to 1.1 million from the present 1.9 million. R Infra is currently supplying power to a total of 2.8 million in Mumbai.
The current tariff charged by R Infra for low-end residential consumers for 0-100 slab is Rs 3.93 per unit while Tata Power's is Rs 2.13 per unit. For 101-300 slab, R-Infra charges Rs 6.84 per unit against Tata Power's Rs 3.62 per unit. This excludes fixed charge.
These consumers are from the 11 clusters in Mumbai identified by MERC to introduce competition in the distribution business and thereby protect the interest of the common man specifically the low-end consumers by option of cheaper electricity to be sourced from TPC-D.
Industry players believe that the transfer will bring parity in the number of low-end residential consumer serviced by both the utilities. Further, R-Infra's subsidy burden is expected to come down.
Source- Business standard