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The Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (AP Transco) attempt to seek a true- up claim of Rs. 650 crore for future requirement was questioned by the AP Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) during public hearing here on Saturday. Commission Chairman Justice G. Bhavani Prasad and members wanted to know from the APTransco officials under what provisions they were seeking such claims.
The officials evaded a direct reply. True-up claim is the expenditure incurred by the utility over and above the Annual Revenue Requirement (ARR) approved by the APERC. AP Transco had claimed that it had made a provision for Rs. 650 cr under terminal benefits for its employees including pension, gratuity and earned leave encashment.
The consumer groups had argued that the purpose of true –up claim is to seek adjustment of uncontrollable and permissible variations in the expenditure and revenue during the control period 2009-2014 or the period gone by. But in this case the utility has included its future requirement, they said and appealed to the APERC to reject the claim as it could be a burden on the consumers in advance.
The APERC would pass its order on this and other claims on November 7. The APERC also put its foot down on the issue of additional power purchase for meeting the agriculture demand made by the two Discoms, Southern Power Distribution Company Limited and Eastern Power Distribution Company Limited. When a consultant for Discoms argued in general terms that the government was committed to welfare of farmers and provided free power to all eligible agriculture consumers since 2004, the APERC Chairman asked him to specify the quantum of subsidy committed by the government.
The consultant sought time, provoking the consumer rights activist, M. Venugopal Rao, to observe that the response indicated that the government was reluctant and want the Discoms to pass the burden on to the consumers. Wondering why the Discoms approached the Commission instead of the government for the additional subsidy, he alleged that they were seeking the same amounts under different heads as ARR, Fuel Surcharge Adjustment and Financial Restructure Plan and now under true- up claim.
The Federation of AP and Telangana Chambers of Commerce and Industry in its submission, highlighted the variation in the audited accounts of the Discoms and the true-up claim and how they burdened the consumers.
The APERC members, however, observed that they need to strike a balance between the interests of the Discoms and the consumers and said an order would be passed on November 16. APERC says it need to strike a balance between interests of Discoms and consumers
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