Updated: October 27, 2020 10:30:42 am
The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), which has been non-operational for nearly two months now, will continue to remain so for at least four more weeks. This is because two of the regulator’s members had been asked by the Supreme Court to go on leave until the appointment of a member-law — a position which the Centre on Monday sought more time to fill.
The longer the CERC remains in a state of paralysis, with just its chairperson RK Pujari to hold the fort, the longer it will take for decisions in high-stake tariff matters to come out, according to a lawyer involved in the ongoing case. The regulator requires at least two members for hearings.
The Supreme Court Monday extended its stay on the functioning of the two members — member-finance Arun Goyal and member-technical Indu Shekhar Jha — who were appointed in the absence of a member-law.
The two were first asked to go on leave following a hearing at the apex court on August 28.
“The Honourable Supreme Court has extended the stay on the functioning of the CERC for another four weeks. The reason being that the central government has stated that the IB report has come to them, but they could not finalise the member-law position because further processes are remaining — such as approval from the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet’s (ACC) meeting and the Selection Committee meeting,” said Ravi Sharma, Advocate-on-Record for the petitioner.
“They (Centre) were not sure when they would be able to finalise the member-law position, but tentatively, they said, four weeks would be sufficient this time,” he added.
CERC has been “non-functional” for nearly two months, as a result. Around 1,014 petitions were pending with the regulator in September, with 173 that had been reserved for orders at the end of the month and 72 petitions that had been reserved for orders for over three months.
“There is a huge financial impact (of the non-functionality). CERC is a very important commission in the power sector where all the high-stake matters like tariff matters, change in law, force majeure claims, damages (that are valued) in crores of rupees are being adjudicated,” said Sharma.
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