OERC set to defend discom licence ban

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) is gearing up to defend revocation of licences of Reliance Infrastructure-run distribution companies (discoms) at the hearing of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATE) which is scheduled to be held on March 24.

“We have taken necessary steps to ensure that our decision is fully substantiated before the tribunal,” said OERC secretary B.D. Dhal.

Principal Energy secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra said, “We have already mentioned that the licences are being withdrawn due to non-performance and have provided all the details regarding the same.”

ATE has already rejected Reliance Infrastructure’s stay plea on the revocation of licences of its three discoms by OERC.

Coming down hard on the failure of the discoms – Wesco, Nesco and Southco – in reining in aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses, OERC has scrapped their licences and appointed the CMD of Gridco as their administrator for the time being.

The commission took the decision after the unsatisfactory performance of these companies even after operating for a decade and a half. Failure of the discoms in complying with its directives and larger public interests were the other reasons that forced the commission to take the drastic step, Dhal had said after the withdrawal of licences.

The AT&C losses of these companies hovered around 40 per cent which is significantly higher than other States and no steps were taken in this regard even after repeated interventions by the OERC, Mohapatra had said justifying the withdrawal.

With an operating history of around 15 years, neither they have made any investments for the development of infrastructure nor have shown any improvement in their performance, he had added.

According to sources, though the existing employees of the department will not be affected by the withdrawal of licences, the managerial level employees working on behalf of Reliance will be sent back to their parent company.