Taking stern action against the Anil Ambani-owned power distribution company BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) for carrying out unprecedented load-shedding and rampant grid violations in June this year, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission on Wednesday slapped a fine of Rs.1.68 crore on the company.

The regulator also imposed an additional fine of Rs.1 lakh on the company’s then Chief Executive Officer Arun Kanchan for “managerial failure”.

DERC Secretary Amarendra Tewary said the penalty of Rs.1.68 crore had been imposed on the discom for its failure to adhere to grid discipline. The company has also been hauled up for not paying heed to the State Load Dispatch Centre’s notices to maintain grid discipline and not making sufficient efforts to secure power for the city.

Following investigations into load-shedding carried out in June, DERC said BRPL mainly depended on overdrawal of power from the grid, far in excess of that permitted under Indian Electricity Grid Code (IEGC), Delhi Grid Code (DGC) and DERC orders, to meet the shortage of power.

“Based on these facts, DERC issued a notice to BRPL on August 6 to explain the reasons for the unprecedented load-shedding and to show cause why action should not be taken against it for failure to maintain grid discipline and indulging in persistent overdrawal from the grid and also for suspension of distribution license U/s 24(i) of the Electricity Act, 2003. The notice was also issued to the then CEO Arun Kanchan for his failure to exercise due diligence which led to the unprecedented load-shedding,” the order states.

Further, DERC pointed out that IEGC and DGC prescribe 15 minutes as the time block to be followed by various constituents for all operational purposes. Accordingly, overdrawal for each 15-minute time block is treated as one violation. DERC has held BRPL guilty of 672 violations.

In its order, DERC noted: “In June 2009, unprecedented load-shedding took place in the areas served by BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) resulting in all-around criticism by all stakeholders. The three distribution licensees (BRPL, BYPL and NDPL) put together claimed to have done total load-shedding of 32.655 MUs on account of shortage of power in June 2009, out of which BRPL alone had done load-shedding to the tune of 24 MUs, mainly because of inadequate arrangement of power by it.”

BRPL’s claims of being unable to procure power because of shortage in the open market and prohibitive prices at the power exchange have been dismissed by DERC. “We investigated and found out that there was power available and the other discoms had purchased it, but they (BRPL) did not buy sufficient power and despite caution notices they carried out grid violations rampantly,” said Mr. Tewary.

Referring to suspension of distribution licence on account of massive load-shedding, Mr. Tewary said: “The actual quantum of load-shedding by BRPL is still unverified and for that an investigation under Section 128 of the Electricity Act, 2003, by a committee consisting of officers of DERC, NIC and Power Grid is still in progress.”

“BRPL has been given time till November 15 to pay the penalty amount. They have been directed to not carry any load-shedding and ensure that their distribution network is strengthened so that there are no power cuts caused by breakdowns,” said Mr. Tewary.

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