It was a victory, of sorts, of heightened consumer awareness and consumer participation.
At the Public Hearing held by the MERC on 29-12-2006, the BEST's Aggregate Revenue Requirement (ARR) and Tariff hike for the island-city area, presented by their GM, was withdrawn and POSTPONED to Feb 2007 !
In fact this proposal was not even approved by BEST's own Committee, before presentation to MERC/public for discussion.
In addition Rakshpal Abrol, President, Bombay Small Scale Industries Association (BSSIA), also pointed out that as per section 62 (4) of The Electricity Act, 2003 that governs determination of Tariff, "No Tariff or part of any tariff may ordinarily be amended, more frequently than once in any financial year, except in respect of any changes expressly permitted under the terms of any fuel surcharge formula as may be specified."
And since MERC had already passed a BEST Tariff Order on 9-3-2006, which had been implemented from 1-10-2006, therefore MERC is now not empowered to change the Tariff, within one financial year.
MERC agreed and postponed the ARR & Tariff proposal for 2006-07 and the matter will now only be heard in Feb 2007 where the Tariff will be finalised for a three-year period under the new Multi-Year Tariff principle.
During the hearing 3 of the 4 nominated consumer-oriented organisations were absent and the only other designated Objectors who spoke were Rakshpal Abrol, Kirit Somaiya, Sandeep N. Ohri and Navin M. Shetty.
Incidentally, BEST was incorrectly proposing the Tariff under sections of a repealed Act, which was also pointed out by the BSSIA.
As a result, over 10 lakh consumers in the BEST supply area will now have NO tariff hike.
This is the kind of result that alert consumerism can bring about.
Here's wishing you a safe, peaceful and more AWARE 2007 !!
Well ... and that's how I feel ...
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