Decided on April 07,2006



- (1.) THE petitioners in both these petitions primarily seek review of the Commission's order dated 6.9.2004 in Petition No. 13/2004. Before proceeding to deal with the contentions of the parties, it would be worthwhile to first briefly peruse background of the case.
(2.) The transmission tariff in North-Eastern Region (NER) is being charged based on Uniform Common Pooled Transmission Tariff (UCPTT), which is in terms of paise per kWh, operational in the NER since 1992. The present UCPTT rate of 35 paise/kWh is effective from 1996. The transmission charges collected based on UCPTT rate are apportioned among Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. (the first respondent in these petitions) and the State Utilities, whose assets form part of the Common Pool of transmission assets in NER. After constitution of the Commission in 1998, petitions were filed by the first respondent for approval of tariff for certain newly commissioned assets in NER. In one such case (Petition No. 40/2000), the Commission decided to continue the UCPTT rate of 35 paise/kWh up to 31.3.2004 in view of the surplus transmission capacity not being made use of by the State Utilites. The relevant excerpts of the Commission's order dated 1.2.2002 in petition No 40/2000 are given hereunder: 12. The transmission schemes in respect of which tariff approval has been sought were approved by the Central Government to match with the future generation of power by NEEPCO. It is on record that except Kathalguri gas plant, no other generating plant connected with these transmission schemes had been put to commercial operation by 1.2.2000, the date from which tariff has been claimed by the petitioner. There is thus an excess of transmission capacity and the respondents are not deriving any benefit out of such excess capacity. Under these circumstances, the respondents cannot be made liable to pay the transmission charges for the excess capacity. In fact, from the petition itself we find that PIB, while approving the revised cost estimates for Kathalguri transmission system, advised the petitioner to enter into a back-to-back commercial agreement with the generating utility and seek grant/compensation in case of delay or non-commissioning of the unit as per schedule. It becomes evident that even PIB did not intend the respondents to be burdened with extra tariff because of non-availability of generation commensurate with the transmission capacity. Therefore, tariff of these transmission schemes cannot be fixed under the notification dated 16.12.97. 13. In the light of the foregoing, we direct that the respondents shall be liable to pay the transmission charges @ 35 paise/kwh of the power transmitted in the region. This tariff shall be applicable from 1.2.2000 to a period up to 31.3.2004 or till such time the power generation matching the transmission capacity is available, whichever is earlier. However, we wish to advise the Central Government to finalise an appropriate relief package for the NE region. If the Central Government finalise relief package, then the difference between actual tariff and the tariff of 35 paise/kwh which we have ordered, shall be provided from the relief package to the petitioner. If this does not happen, petitioner would have to bear the difference. We expect that the petitioner, however, would pursue the matter and obtain an early favourable decision from the Central Government. The petitioner may get this petition revived in that eventuality. As a corollary of this direction, the petitioner need not file transmission tariff petitions for any other transmission system in the region since other transmission systems get covered by these directions, which are in the context of the power transmitted and not based on the terms and conditions notified by the Ministry of Power on 16.12.1997. After implementation of ABT in the NER from 1.11.2003, the first respondent felt that transmission charges based on per kWh of energy did not fit well into ABT mechanism. Therefore, petition No.13/2004, was filed by the first respondent wherein, it was, inter alia, prayed that the annual transmission charges should be calculated by multiplying the total ex-bus design/target energy of the central sector generating stations in the NER by UCPTT rate of 35 paise/kWh and these charges should be shared between the constituents of the NER in proportion of their allocation of power. The suggested method was based on the premise that actual generation at the central sector generating stations in the NER was much below their installed capacity and this was affecting the revenue of the petitioner since the transmission system in the region was commissioned after taking into account the installed capacity. The Commission vide order dated 6.9.2004 in the said petition, issued the directions, as summarized below: (a) With effect from 1.11.2003, and till the date UCPTT continues, regional transmission charges in the NER shall be paid by the under-drawing beneficiaries according to their respective scheduled energy drawal from the central sector generating stations. (b) The over-drawing beneficiaries, and those importing power from outside the NER under an agreement shall pay the regional transmission charges according to their actual energy drawal. (c) In case a central sector generating station injects energy into the NER grid in excess of that scheduled by the beneficiaries, either on account of a bilateral sale or as UI, the central sector generating station shall pay the UCPTT rate on such excess energy. (d) No further "open access" transmission charges for the NER regional system shall be payable for wheeling of the energy on which the UCPTT rate is paid
(3.) THESE petitions are filed for review of the aforesaid directions contained in the order dated 6.9.2004. We proceed to discuss the issues raised by the petitioners in these petitions, reply of the respondents and our findings thereon. Over-recovery;

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