The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has approved the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB)'s proposal of levying reliability charge on those high tension (HT) consumers who wanted the relaxation of 20 per cent power cut and evening peak hour restrictions.

In its order issued on Monday, the Commission said the Board should address all HT industrial consumers, who were currently subjected to restriction and control (R&C) measures of power supply to ascertain their willingness for supply of additional power at a total energy cost not exceeding Rs.7 per unit. The consumers might indicate their requirement of additional power during the peak hours (6.p.m. and 10.00 p.m.) and the remaining hours. The order would be in force up to May 31 this year..

Making it clear that there was no legal impediment in prescribing differential charges, the Commission stated that the enhanced tariff was applicable only to those HT consumers who opted for it. "If the additional power procured by the TNEB is less than the total requirement as consented by the HT industrial consumers, the additional power shall be distributed amongst all the consenting consumers proportionate to the requisitioned additional power," the Commission said.

The Board should ensure a monthly schedule for all the HT consumers in respect of two slots - one for the evening peak hours and the other for the rest of the day. Any variation in the monthly schedule should be communicated to the consumers at least one week before the change. The Board should also ascertain from each consumer the additional demand and energy requirement for every month, limited to the base demand and base energy. It should confirm to the indenting consumer one week prior to the commencement of the month the additional available demand and energy for the two slots.

Having confirmed the additional demand and energy, the TNEB should fulfill its promise, the Commission advised the Board.

The consumer was entitled to consume the additional demand at the normal rate and additional energy at the higher rate. Penal charges should not be levied for the committed quantity. In the event of consumer not availing the committed demand and energy, the higher charge for the committed quantum of energy would have to be paid.

The TNERC laid down that the energy supplied to a consumer would be treated in two parts. The first part would be the additional energy supplied on the basis of the requisition of the consumer, for which the higher rate would be charged. In respect of the second part covering the usual supply of energy, the normal rate would be levied.

The State unit of the Confederation of Indian Industry welcomed the order and commended the Commission and State government.