CIRC in MEDIA - September 2014

Legal literacy required for power sector professionals: APTEL chairman
IANS | New Delhi September 19, 2014

There is an urgent need for legal literacy among power sector professionals in the current scenario, chairman of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity Justice M Karpaga Vinayagam has said.
Recollecting his time spent in the judiciary and currently at APTEL, Vinayagam said: "The knowledge gap between the law and its practice has increased manifold. Law is dynamic and power sector professionals often find themselves struggling with the varied interpretations of the same." Vinayagam was addressing a workshop here Thursday of state and private distribution companies' (discoms) officials, organised by the CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition.
A former sector regulator pointed to a new felt need arising out of the changing scenario in the country's power sector.
"While there has been an increasing growth of new players in power generation and supply, the necessary manpower skill development has not been kept pace," said V.P.Raja, former chairman of Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), in his presidential address.
The recent months have witnessed a number of issues related to legal, regulatory and tariff tangles involving players in the power sector. Earlier this month, power ministers of five states facing major blackouts urged union Power Minister Piyush Goyal to consider filing an affidavit in APTEL to strengthen the powers of the regulator Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) to revise tariffs due to rise in input costs.
Haryana power utilities had blamed Adani Power for the power crisis in the state saying the company resorted to cutting electricity supply from its power plants just two days after the Supreme Court stayed an earlier APTEL and CERC order granting it compensatory tariff.
Following some of the worst power cuts in the capital in recent years this summer, particularly in June, the Aam Aadmi Party demanded that the law setting up the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) should be amended to make the panel accountable to the people as it showed "extreme reluctance" to fix the accountability for power cuts in the city.
In May, the Delhi High Court was informed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) that it was unable to make any headway into the audit of three power discoms in the capital as they were "not cooperating".
The Delhi government had, in January, ordered an audit of the discoms since their inception in 2002 by the CAG. The discoms then filed writ petitions before the Delhi High Court challenging the government's order.