Charges them with harassing industries

The Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has appealed to V. Bhaskar, Chairman of A.P Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC), to instruct the power distribution companies (Discoms) not to insist that HT I and II category consumers should pay 50 per cent of the R&C (restriction and control) penalties which were waived recently.

In a letter to APERC Chairman on Saturday, ACCI Chairman M. Murali Krishna stated that the DISCOMs were threatening to disconnect the services without issuing any notice if the HT consumers did not pay the balance of R&C penalties while their ‘recall petition’ is pending with the APERC.

Waiver of 50 per cent of the R&C penalties will be of no loss to the DISCOMs as it is a source of income in addition to the revenue garnered from regular billing, Mr. Murali Krishna argued.

The APERC Chairman was asked to direct the DISCOMs to adjust 50 per cent of the penalties which had already been paid in the immediate bills and not to demand payment of the pending penalties.

The R&C penalties are imposed on HT services drawing power beyond the ‘permitted consumption limit’ during the peak or off-peak hours. Restriction on power consumption was imposed and hefty penalties were stipulated under Sec. 23 of the Electricity Act, 2003.

Poser

Mr. Murali Krishna questioned how the DISCOMs could demand the consumers to pay the waived off penalties by just filing a petition with the APERC seeking a review of its waiver order. He pointed out that the Chief General Manager (Finance) of Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (SPDCL) had on behalf of the four DISCOMs, filed the recall petition with APERC on December 10 to disallow waiver of the penalties.

The DISCOMs communicated to ACCI, A.P Spinning Mills Association, Guntur and others that necessary action on their pleas for exemption from payment of 50 per cent of the R&C penalties would be taken as per the outcome of their petition pending with the APERC but pressured the consumers to shell down the said penalties even after the waiver (to the extent of 50 per cent) was cleared.