New Delhi, 26 Aug The Supreme Court has ruled that the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) does not have any power to pass a blanket order for refund of excess money allegedly collected by power discoms in the state.
A bench of Justices A K Mathur and Markandeya Katju also asked Reliance Energy Limited and other discoms to issue notices in two leading newspapers of the state inviting the public to individually approach the respective companies for redressal of their complaints on the issue.
The bench passed the ruling on an appeal filed by the MERC challenging the state Electricity Authority Tribunal’s decision to quash an order passed by the regulator to the discoms for a blanket refund of the consumers’ money which was allegedly collected in excess of the actual tariff.
MERC had passed the order on 23 February, 2005 following a spate of complaints that the discoms were collecting excess amounts from the consumers on the plea that meters were tampered with or faulty.
However, the tribunal quashed the MERC order on 29 March 2006, following which the regulator moved the apex court.
Interpreting the powers of the MERC which was constituted under the Maharashtra Electricity Act, 2003, the apex court said though the regulator had powers to direct the discoms to adhere to the conditions imposed in the license, it had no powers to order a blanket refund of the “excess” tariff collected by the distribution companies.