Battle escalates as Tata Power moves MERC against BSES

Mumbai: The battle between the Ambani-controlled BSES and Tata Power Company (TPC) seems to have escalated sharply as TPC on Tuesday field a petition against BSES with the Maharasthra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) asking the commission to direct BSES to pay Rs 100 crore as aggregate arrears. TPC has also asked MERC to direct BSES to maintain spinning reserves to avoid a black out in Mumbai city.

TPC''s move is based on an alleged tripping which had occurred in BSES''s Dahanu plant on Tuesday morning. TPC officials allege that the Dhanu power plant is running on a plant load factor (PLF) of 103 per cent where the technical norms restrict it to maintain a maximum PLF of 90 per cent for thermal power plants.

"The over-PLF factor has resulted in tripping. It forced TPC to use its spinning reserves to prevent a blackout in Mumbai city. BSES is not maintaining the right spinning reserves. They have been slogging the unit for the last few years," say Tata Power officials.

Say BSES officials: "The shutdown was a preventive measure taken up by the company for maintenance purposes. The plant will start its normal functioning within two days."

Last week, BSES had moved MERC asking it to direct TPC to pay Rs 305 crore as compensation for loss of revenue it has allegedly suffered on account of rebates it has had to give to its consumers in order to match lower tariffs being offered by TPC.

The BSES move follows a favourable verdict from MERC in another case, which prevented TPC from providing new connections to retail consumers in BSES'' territory. In its petition dated 8 September BSES also demanded that TPC should return to BSES all consumers "lured" away since February 1998.