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‘Dismayed’ power duo move court

Ranchi, July 8: Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) and Tata Power have moved Jharkhand High Court to restrain Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (JUVNL) from scrapping the distribution franchise agreement inked with the state in December 2012 for power distribution in Ranchi and Jamshedpur circles, respectively.

Tata Power moved court yesterday, while CESC followed suit today.

During Arjun Munda’s tenure as chief minister in 2012, the CESC bagged power distribution rights for Ranchi while Tata Power got it for Jamshedpur through an open tender process.

After 18 months of political upheaval and no business headway, the private heavyweights feared the agreement would get terminated when energy minister Rajendra Singh of the Hemant Soren government said last week that he wanted a “review” of the deal in the “larger interest of the state”.

Insiders said that the review was an euphemism for scrapping the state’s agreement with the CESC and Tata Power.

As soon as the controversy over the minister’s statement broke out, Sanjib Sengupta, the CESC spokesperson, had reiterated their company’s performance in Calcutta was more than satisfactory.

Tata Power Distribution Company CEO Vivek Singla today also took the argument forward, citing their performance in Delhi areas.

“In north and north-west Delhi, which comprise the command area of Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd, there are no shops selling generator sets. They have been driven out of business because there is no power cut,” Singla said.

“The best proof of our performance in Delhi is that the many shops that used to sell generator sets in our command area have long closed shop and left,” Singla, in an exclusive interview with The Telegraph at the Tata Power guest house at Ranchi, stressed.

Singla claimed that any move by the state government to scrap its power distribution rights for Jamshedpur according to the December 2012 agreement would rob thousands of consumers in the steel city of quality power supply without disruptions.

Again calling attention to their distribution prowess in Delhi, Singla said: “We all remember the dark days when even national capital Delhi suffered six to eight hours of load-shedding in 2000 to 2002. Contrast that to the present. Now, we are providing round-the-clock quality power to all our consumers.”

Singla pointed out that to ensure customer satisfaction, Tata Power streamlined systems of obtaining fresh connections and getting duplicate bills besides putting in place multiple payment options like drop boxes, electronic payments, anytime payment machine kiosks, among others.

“We intend to bring this efficiency to Jamshedpur and to Jharkhand,” he stressed.

Speaking at length about fiscal health, Singla said: “In 2002, average technical and commercial losses in north and north-west Delhi stood at a staggering 53 per cent. Tata Power brought down these AT&C losses to a low of 10.78 per cent in 2012, thereby generating revenues to around Rs 10, 300 crore. This sum has been used in funding power purchases from outside sources which otherwise would have needed funding from the Delhi state or by increasing power tariffs.”

Terming recent events in Jharkhand as “highly unfortunate”, Singla conceded they were dismayed.

“We filed a petition before high court praying the state be restrained from cancelling the December 2012 agreements. Our petition is likely to be heard on Monday, July 14. Till date we have not got any intimation regarding cancellation of the agreement in writing from JUVNL. But it has not been implemented either,” he said.

Tata Power is committed to invest around Rs 200 crore for power supply in Jamshedpur.


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