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UP power regulator urged to dismiss Torrent's Agra rollout plan

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A public interest application on Wednesday urged Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) to dismiss the rollout plan of Torrent Power for its power distribution franchisee in Agra.

UP Rajya Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad (UPRVUP) made such representation before chairman here.

UPRVUP has demanded the rollout plan of Rs 360 crore for strengthening the power system in Agra should be dismissed and the matter be probed.

Parishad chairperson, who is also member of the London-based World Energy Council, said the rollout plan submitted before UPERC by UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) pertained to 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 financial years.

“It is strange that UPPCL has informed the Commission that Torrent Power had already incurred Rs 99 crore in capital expenditure during 2010-11 in anticipation of approval by UPERC,” he added.

Verma told Business Standard the rollout plan expenditure would be included in the Annual Revenue Requirement (ARR) of UPPCL and would ultimately be borne by the consumers.

He said UPPCL had submitted the rollout plan to the Commission in March 2012.

He sought to know why the rollout plan was not placed before the Commission, when Torrent Power had entered into an agreement with the state power discom of Agra for the input based franchisee in 2010.

“UPPCL wants a legal sanction of UPERC’s approval to conceal its mistakes,” Verma alleged. He pointed out that UPPCL was providing power to Torrent below the average cost of power. In 2010-11 and 2011-12, the average cost of power incurred by UPPCL was Rs 2.97/unit and Rs 3.71/unit respectively, while Torrent was getting power at the rate of Rs 2/unit from UPPCL.

Recently there had been reports that the state government was planning to privatise power distribution in some more cities viz. Lucknow, Meerut, Muzaffargnagar, Ghaziabad, Bareilly, Varanasi and Robertsganj. This had been opposed by state power engineers and employees.

However, state infrastructure and industrial development commissioner (IIDC) had clarified neither there had been any such proposal before him nor such proposal had been mooted by the energy department.

Power Employees Joint Action Committee (JAC) convener and All India Power Engineers Federation secretary general Shailendra Dubey had said the clarification should have come from either the energy department or UPPCL.

Dubey claimed a high level meeting was held on April 19, wherein the proposal of privatising power distribution in UP was discussed and a presentation was also given by UPPCL.

JAC claimed UPPCL was incurring over Rs 600 crore losses annually due to Agra franchisee. Torrent Power was awarded Agra franchisee on April 1, 2010 and it later bagged Kanpur also, however, it failed to take off.

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