OERC-proposed power tariff hike stayed till June 20

Cuttack: The Odisha High Court on Monday posted the hearing of the PILs challenging the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) proposed power tariff hike to June 20.

The High Court also extended its interim stay on collection of hiked power bill till that period giving the much-needed relief to the power consumers of the state.

The Division Bench of Justices B P Das and B K Mishra adjourning over a batch of petitions in this regard also directed OERC to dispose off the state government review petition filed before it by June 19 so that the PILs could be could be taken for hearing on June 20.

The Bench also made a minor amendment to its last order in which it had directed Gridco, the bulk power supplier of the state, to furnish all details of its outstanding dues pending collection for the last three years.

Instead of Gridco, the direction was aimed at power distribution companies like Wesco, Nesco, Sesco and Cesu to furnish details of their uncollected outstanding dues.

Similarly, on the day, the main petitioner– Keonjhar Navanirman Parishad also filed another amended petition urging the High Court to make the state department of water resources as another opposite party in the case since the department can furnish details about the industries which are utilising river water to generate power and outstanding dues pending against these industries.

This amended petition, however, has not been taken cognisance yet by the HC, sources said.

The OERC in March this year had proposed to hike the power tariff for the 2011-12 fiscal.

However, following the PILs filed, the High Court had slapped an interim stay on collection of hiked tariff.

Subsequently, OERC, power distribution companies, Gridco and the state government opposed the PILs.

The OERC defending the proposed hike even questioned that the High Court had limited jurisdiction to review the power tariff hike as proposed by the Commission which is a quasi legislative body.

The High Court however rejecting the OERC contention decided that it would adjudicate on both maintainability and merit of the PILs and issued notices to the opposite parties.