Procedural History
On preliminary scrutiny of CESCO's application, it was noted that information and analysis with regard to a number of items which are extremely relevant for the determination of tariff had not been given. The Commission forwarded its comments/queries to CESCO vide letter No.1856 dt.18.10.2000 calling for clarifications as well as additional information.


In response, CESCO provided clarifications on 1st November, 2000 and subsequently furnished a second reply on 2nd November, 2000. In the light of the clarifications to the comments/queries and additional information received from it, the filing was treated as complete and the application in question was admitted. The applicant was directed to publish a public notice on the proposed retail supply tariff, as per the format approved by the Commission so as to inform the public and to invite objections from the interested persons.


Notice was published in several local newspapers on two consecutive days in terms of Clause 39 r/w sub-clause (1) of Clause-126 of the OERC (Conduct of Business) Regulations, 1996 (Regulations, 1996, for short) outlining the broad features of the Distribution & Retail Supply Licensee’s proposed tariff and the rates & charges in a Schedule appended to the notice and inviting objections from interested persons. The public notice required the interested persons to file their objections and documents as they sought to rely upon, supported by an affidavit and also to indicate if they would like to be heard in person by the Commission. The notice further required the interested persons to serve a copy of the reply/objection along with the documents relied upon on the petitioner/applicant and to file proof of such service before the Commission at the time of filing of the reply/objection.


The above public notice also called upon the interested persons/objectors to inspect/peruse CESCO’s application and take note thereof during office hours within 15 days of the publication of the notice. The public notice also informed that the interested persons could obtain the Salient Features of the Application on payment of Rs.30/- towards photocopying charges from Managing Director, CESCO, Bhubaneswar and all Executive Engineers in charge of Distribution Divisions such as Bhubaneswar City Distribution Division., Bhubaneswar Electrical Divn., Cuttack City Distribution Divn., Cuttack Electrical Divn., Puri Electrical Divn., Khurda Electrical Divn., Nayagarh Electrical Divn., Kendrapara Electrical Divn. No.I, Kendrapara Electrical Divn. No.II, Marsaghai, Jagatsinghpur Electrical Divn., Athagarh Electrical Divn., Salipur Electrical Divn., Talcher Electrical Divn., Chainpal, Dhenkanal Electrical Divn., and Angul Electrical Divn.


They could also obtain a full set of the application in three volumes together with supporting materials on payment of Rs.100/- towards photocopying charges. The last date of filing of objection complying with the terms & conditions of the public notice was fixed to 27.11.2000.


The Commission received a total of 31 objections from the following parties:

(1) Aditya Aluminium, Bhubaneswar (2) Federation of Consumer Organisation, Orissa and Bhubaneswar Consumer’s Association, Bhubaneswar (3) Orissa Grahak Mohasangha, Bhubaneswar (4) M/s Utkal Chamber of Commerce & Industry Ltd., Cuttack (5) M/s National Aluminium Company Ltd. (NALCO), Bhubaneswar (6) Orissa Consumers’ Association, Cuttack (7) M/s Shakti Sugars Cane Growers Rural Development and Water Ushers Society, Badamba (8) M/s Shakti Sugars Cane Growers Rural Development and Water Ushers Society, Dhenkanal (9) Nayagarh Flour & Rice Mill Owner’s Association, Sarankul (10) Konark Jute Ltd., Dhanamandal (11) Shri P.K. Acharya & others, Samasarpur (12) Shri C.V. Sastri, Cuttack (13) Shri Soubhagya Ketana Samal, Nimpur (14) M/s Nava Bharat Ferro Alloys Ltd., Kharagprasad (15) Astaranga Salt Production & Sales Cooperative Society Ltd., Astaranga (16) S.E. Railway, Garden Reach, Calcutta (17) Confederation of Indian Industry, Eastern Region, Bhubaneswar (18) M/s IPISTEEL Ltd., Cuttack (19) Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (20) Orissa Cooperative Coir Corporation Ltd., Bhubaneswar (21) Association of Industrial Entrepreneurs of Bhubaneswar (AIEBA), Bhubaneswar (22) Shri Niladri Nath Mohanty, Bhubaneswar (23) Orissa Young Entrepreneurs Association, Cuttack (24) Orissa Assembly of Small & Medium Enterprises, Cuttack (25) Grid Corporation of Orissa Ltd., Bhubaneswar (26) Orissa Small Scale Industries Association, Cuttack (27) Shri R.C. Padhi, Bhubaneswar (28) District Small Scale Industries Association, Puri (29) District Small Scale Industries Association, Cuttack (30) Orissa Industries Association, Jagatpur (31) Shri R.P. Mohapatra, Bhubaneswar.


Commission scrutinized all the objections received. Twenty five objections were admitted for hearing where as objections of Sl. No.(7) M/s Shakti Sugars Cane Growers Rural Development and Water Ushers Society, Badamba, Sl No. (8) M/s Shakti Sugars Cane Growers Rural Development and Water Ushers Society, Dhenkanal, Sl. No.(10) Konark Jute Ltd., Dhanamandal, Sl. No. (11) Shri P.K. Acharya & others, Samasarpur Sl. No. (13) Shri Soubhagya Ketana Samal, Nimpur and Sl No. (28) District Small Scale Industries Association, Puri were not admitted by the Commission for hearing due to their non-compliance with the terms & conditions as laid down in the aforesaid public notice. However, the issues raised by them in their objections have been taken into consideration.


The date of hearing was fixed to 21.12.2000 and Commission issued notices to the applicant M/s CESCO and the objectors to appear personally or through their authorised representative or duly constituted attorney for participation in the hearing. Due to the Postal strike, in the interest of public and as a matter of precaution, Commission published the notice indicating the date of hearing along with the list of valid objectors in the largest circulated Oriya daily "The Samaj" on 11.12.2000. Commission also issued notice to the State Govt. to appear as an interested party.


The applicant was given chance to file rejoinder, if any, to the objections filed by the objectors and accordingly the applicant filed its rejoinder on 11.12.2000.


The matter was heard on 21.12.2000 & 23.12.2000. Sri S. Das, Director (Finance) CESCO made an oral submission in support of the tariff application and prayed for approval of the tariff proposals. Objectors present were heard in person or through their authorised representatives. Director (Tariff) of the Commission raised certain queries to the applicant by way of clarification.


On 27th December, 2000, the applicant submitted clarification to the queries raised by Director (Tariff) and reply to the issues raised by the objectors during the hearing.


Legal Objections and their validity
During hearing, some preliminary objections regarding the maintainability of this tariff proceeding were raised by some objectors. They are indicated below.


Commission has not prescribed any methodology and procedure for calculating the expected revenue from charges which the petitioner may be permitted to recover pursuant to the terms of its licence and for determination of the tariff to collect those revenues.


Tariff once fixed by the Commission cannot be amended within a financial year.


As per the provisions of Sec.57 & 57-A read with Sixth Schedule of Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948, no application for revision of tariff can be made within 3 years.


The present tariff filing of the applicant violates the provisions of Sec. 29 of the Electricity Regulatory Commission Act, 1998.


In the light of the Hon'ble High Court of Orissa's stay order dt.1.2.2000 relating to BST Order passed by the Commission on 30.12.99, the present tariff filing of the licensee is not maintainable.


Issues at para 2.3.1, 2.3.2, 2.3.3 and 2.3.4 were raised during tariff proceedings in case No.25/1999 and had been dealt by the Commission giving clear finding that these objections were not valid at all. The Commission finds no reason to depart from its decision and hence these objections have to be overruled.


As regards the objection raised in para 2.3.5 above, it has to be stated that a stay granted by the Hon'ble High Court on operation of tariff order dated 30.12.1999 in case No.12/1999 which was to be effective from 01.02.2000 has no relevance for this proceeding which is entirely different and has been initiated with reference to fresh filings for a subsequent period namely, with reference to revenue requirement for 2000-01.


We have also to note, as we write this order, Hon'ble Orissa High Court has been pleased to deal with these very preliminary objections and have not found validity in any of them in their order dated December 22, 2000 passed in M.A. No.51/2000. We, therefore, note that none of the legal objections by various objectors has any force and that we have to proceed accordingly to the procedure and principles established by us in the last three sets of tariff orders namely in March, 1997, November, 1998 and December, 1999.


We now proceed to examine the present tariff filing and give our findings on the same.


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