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New member to join power regulator

Ranchi, Dec. 1: Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory Commission (JSERC), the statutory watchdog for power distribution and generation, may hope to come out of a year-long hibernation in the next 10 days, paving the way for tariff revision across all districts.

“A member (finance) is likely to be appointed at JSERC within the next 10 days at the most. All necessary formalities have been completed,” Vimal Kirti Singh, principal secretary (energy), said.

All work at JSERC has been put on hold since December 15, 2012, when its then chairman Mukhtiyar Singh retired on attaining the age of 65 years, leaving a lone T. Muni Krishniah, member (engineering), to fend for himself.

According to the JSERC Act, 2003, at least two members are needed to determine power tariff, examine and review tariff proposals, hear cases, issue licences for distribution and transmission of power, adjudicate upon disputes between licensees and generating companies, promote generation of electricity from renewable sources, among other jobs.

Naturally, since last December, JSERC was forced to lie idle for the want of numbers.

On appointment of a new chairman for JSERC, Singh said the state government had already taken necessary steps, though he could not give a time limit for the same. He, however, stressed that a new member (finance) would be appointed very soon, and that would solve a lot of problems.

A new finance member will help the regulatory body achieve the required quorum, can start examining tariff proposals submitted by seven power producers based in Jharkhand and revise rates.

Revision of tariff is already overdue, the principal secretary (energy) conceded.

According to JSERC member Krishniah, the regulatory has received proposals for tariff revisions from Jharkhand State Electricity Board, Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Limited, Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company Ltd (Jusco), Tata Steel, Damodar Valley Corporation, SAIL-Bokaro Steel and Tata Power.

“Preliminary work, like examining proposals and seeking clarifications, is done. Once a new member or a chairman is appointed, we shall begin the process of inviting public response on the proposals,” he told The Telegraph.

Moreover, he pointed out, 20 cases are pending for hearing. Since minimum two members are must to conduct hearing, the regulatory authority has been rescheduling proceedings all this while. “Once a new member joins, we shall take up hearing of all pending cases,” he added.

When asked about reasons for delay, Krishniah said: “This is the onus of the state government and we can’t comment on it.”