Power tariff constitutional validity reaffirmed

Kolkata: The Supreme Court (SC) has reaffirmed the constitutional validity of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) in fixing the power tariff.

The apex court was delivering its verdict against a petition filed by four city-based chambers and associations challenging the ruling of the Calcutta High Court (CHC) on the power tariff to be charged by CERC. The ruling is likely to impact CSEC, which will now collect a higher tariff than prescribed by the West Bengal State Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBSERC).

The SC ruling has resolved the constitutional dilemma arisen out of the CHC order against the petition filed by CERC challenging WBSERCs tariff rulings. In its verdict delivered early this year the CHC had set aside the CERC prescribed formula and fixed the tariff for 2002-03 challenging the very validity of the commission.

Bharat Chamber of Commerce says the SC observed that the CHC had erred in not permitting the chamber to make their submission on merits. The apex court has also held that there should be an appellate forum to hear the appeals from the commission akin to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. The SC has also issued certain guidelines in this regard. Though it made a provision for the same in the Electricity Act, 1998, the Centre is yet to form the same.