Saturday, April 14, 2007

Can MERC approve electricity rates higher than what was Petitioned?

See what MERC has done in BEST's case. BEST petitioned for rates (at the highest slab), ranging from Rs. 5.70 to Rs. 7.20 per unit. MERC has approved rates of Rs. 7.22 and Rs. 9.97 .. by adding another "Reliability Charge."

None of this was brought to the Public's notice. Nothing was discussed in the Public Hearings (I attended all 4 public hearings: Vitaran, TPC, REL, BEST).

Everyday we read in the newspapers, how these "poor, hapless" electricity companies may have to purchase electricity at much higher rates (Rs. 7, Rs. 8 per unit, etc.) in order to "save" Mumbai from Load shedding.

Please correct me if I'm wrong here ...

As I understand it, MERC can fix the tariff - and that too, ONLY after a Public hearing on the same - with 21 days' notice, etc. etc. You all know this by now.

Hence, even if TPC/REL now buy at rates that are higher than what was petitioned by them, how can MERC approve (the resultant) higher consumer rates WITHOUT calling for a public hearing first ??

According to me, MERC can only approve what was in the Petition, as that was what was discussed (Ha!) with the Public.

Got it??

I suspect this is the REAL reason for all this talk of higher purchase rates - just so that MERC can play Santa Claus and "force" these companies to supply only at MYT Petition rates .. and these "poor" disgruntled guys will "grudgingly agree." Exactly, what was done in BEST's case - the same will happen to Tata and REL consumers also!

They all really must take us for fools. But there was a famous saying about, "not being able to fool ALL the people ALL the time."

Think about it.

Feel like doing something about it? Send an email to MERC (see below for text matter).

Well ... and that's how I feel ...

Here's the DRAFT for the email to MERC - CUT AND PASTE IN your "New Mail" or "Compose" window. Please do not forget to add your name, address, email ID, at the end of the text.

Mail to:
Copy to:,,,,



The Secretary,
Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission

Sub: How can the Hon'ble MERC approve rates that were not discussed in the Public Hearings?
Dear Madam,

I have read in the newspapers that electricity companies are now going to charge rates that are higher than what was mentioned in their MYT Petitions.
I am concerned about the violation of the sanctity of the public hearing process and would like to bring to your attention that Tariff can be fixed only after discussing the proposed rates with the public. The rates approved for BEST have not been discussed in public.

The Hon'ble Commission has just concluded these MYT public hearings and I am opposed to any hike, as the rates have just been hiked only 6 months back, in October 2006.

I request the Hon'ble MERC to NOT approve the proposed rates, especially any new (undiscussed) rates.

Thank you.



Copies to:
Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh, Chief Minister, Maharashtra
Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde, Union Minister of Power
Shri Anil Razdan, Secretary, Ministry of Power
Shri A.K. Basu, Chairman CERC

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