SC reaffirms power tariff rulings

KOLKATA OCT. 4. In a major development today the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the constitutional validity of the electricity regulatory commission in fixing the power tariff. The Court was delivering its verdict against a petition filed by four city based chamber and associations challenging the ruling of Kolkata High Court on power tariff to be charged by CESC. Today's ruling is likely to impact CSEC, collecting a higher tariff than prescribed by the West Bengal State Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBSERC).

The Supreme Court ruling had resolved the constitutional dilemma arisen out of the High Court order against the petition filed by CESC challenging WBSERC's tariff rulings. In its verdict delivered early this year the HC had set aside the commission prescribed formula and fixed the tariff for 2002-03 challenging the very validity of the commission.

Interestingly the Bharat Chamber of Commerce (BCC) says that the SC observed that "the HC had erred in not permitting the chamber to make their make their submission on merits''. The court has also held that the "There should be an appellate forum to hear the appeals from the commission akin to TRAI.'' SC had also issued certain guidelines in this regard. Though made a provision for the same in the Electricity Act, 1998 the Centre is yet to form the same.

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