TPC says MERC order capping open access 'against competition'

Tata Power has termed the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) order, that put a cap on open access, as a decision against competition.

Updated: Aug 23, 2012, 18:55 PM IST

Mumbai: Tata Power has termed the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) order, that put a cap on open access, as a decision against competition.

Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra), however, welcomed the Wednesday's order saying the order will equate the consumer mix across all suppliers.

Terming the order as "against the competitive spirit", a Tata Power spokesperson said, "we note that MERC has allowed changeover in Mumbai for a particular set of consumers, which is key to creating competition in the larger interest of consumers.

"However, we understand that a few categories are being prevented from changeover which is against the competitive spirit though we can always acquire them as a part of our licence," Tata Power said.

MERC had in an order yesterday said that consumer migration from RInfra to Tata Power Company (TPC) will be allowed only for residential customers using up to 300 units a month.

Welcoming the order, RInfra said, "the order puts an end to the cherry-picking of high-end consumers by Tata Power. The order wants to equate the consumer mix across all suppliers."

RInfra had filed a petition before MERC seeking relief on account of certain issues affecting its customer base and financial viability due to switchover by consumers to Tata Power.

The MERC in its order had further said that there was a need to intervene in the manner of changeover and switchover of consumers, as being undertaken by the parties, to ensure a level-playing field and also to protect the interests of low-end consumers being supplied electricity in the common area of supply between RInfra and TPC.

"This order would help 22 lacs low end residential consumers of suburban Mumbai. Owing to inadequate cross subsidy, many high end consumes, who were subsidising low end consumers and keeping the tariffs low, were migrating," the RInfra spokesperson said.

The electricity regulator had observed that for all consumers, who have changed over before the order or who have already applied and are eligible for changeover, the supply will be given by Tata Power using the RInfra network till such time as Tata Power develops its own distribution network in the area.

"The MERC has maintained our right to switch consumers to our wires and also suggested parallel network in 11 clusters for direct consumers, which is a positive development. Tata Power is studying the order and would always be happy to serve the customers with fairness and transparency," the TPC statement said further.

The Commission in its order had said it would monitor the progress of consumer addition by TPC (switchover and new connections) on quarterly basis, and both RInfra and TPC would be required to submit the desired information for every quarter.

RInfra supplies power to Mumbai's suburbs and surrounding areas like Mira Road and Bhayander in adjoining Thane district. Tata Power and state-run utility BEST cater to consumers in South Mumbai with the former also supplying in the suburbs.