CASE NO. 4 of 1997
14.02.97 A letter dated 05.02.97 from Orissa Consumar's Association has been placed before the commission.
The said letter is with reference to a Public Notice issued by the OERC and published in newspapers on 2nd February ,1997 inviting objection to the proposal for tariff for the year 1997-98 filed by Gridco before the commission. The Public Notice has called for objections to be filed by 18.02.97 in person or through registered post after perusing the details of the tariff proposal in the office of Gridco at Bhubaneswar.
The Commission has noted that the language used and the insinuation made in the letter are not proper. However this aspect of the letter is being ignored for the purpose of order as it appears that the applicant has not briefed himself with the laws and procedure with regard to the composition and functioning of the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission. The commission has been vasted with the powers of a civil court under the code of civil procedure 1908 with regard to enquiry or proceedings under the Orissa Electricity Reform Act, 1995. Hence the Commission is obliged by law to take up procedure accordingly.
It is neither prescribed by law nor it is feasible for the Commission dealing with the matter of public utility to issue notices either individually or to representatives of interest groups and therefore in accordance with the prescribed procedure, a public notice has been given with reasonable time to enable genuinely interested parties to take note of the details and to file objections. The procedure adopted with regard to public utility matters is new and possibly therefore, there is some misapprehension and inadequate appreciation of the legal issues as well as procedure adopted. the commission is bound by the statute and regulations to proceed in the time bound manner so as to ensure that the proceeding for the electricity tariff for the year 1997-98 is completed and notified before the end of the financial year. Keeping this in view, the Commission has carefully charted out its proceedings making provision for resonable opportunity to be given to the interest groups and ensuring open hearing for the sake of transparency in the decision making .The Commission has also noted that a number of genuinely interested groups and individual have already collected information and have submitted/are submitting their objections indicating their objection and wishing to be heard in person on the appointed day of hearing,. The commission has carefully considered all aspects and does not find it possible to grant any time in the matter.
( A.R. MOHANTY )
Case No.4 of 1997
Order No. 007 dated 21st February, 1997
21.02.97 At the initial stage of hearing today with reference to the tariff application, preliminary objections were raised by three objectors who expressed the desire that the formal order of the Commission on these issues should be delivered before the Commission proceeds with the hearing on the merits of the tariff application. The Commission heard Mr. K.N. Jena, speaking on behalf of Orissa Consumers Association, Sri L. Pangari representative of IPI Steel Limited and Sri Rajat Kumar Rath, Advocate representing Orissa Sponge Iron Ltd. These objections had also been indicated in the written submissions submitted in response to the public notice of the hearing. These have, therefore, received the attention of the Commission. Further, the arguments and objections advanced before us have been heard. These have been carefully considered. The issues raised and orders of the Commission on them are as follows.
2. The first objection is that Commission has not been properly constituted. In support of this objection, it was stated that the Commission is presently composed of two members and is without a Chairman and therefore, it is not a full-fledged Commission. It was argued that in the absence of the Chairman, the Commission was not entitled to conduct its proceedings.
The Commission is unable to find any validity in this objection in view of clear and specific provisions of the law at sub-sections (4) and (5) of Section 3 which are as under:
Sub-section (4) of Section 3: When the Chairman of the Commission is unable to discharge the functions owing to absence, illness or any other cause, the senior most member of the Commission shall discharge the functions of the Chairman, until the day on which the Chairman assumes the charge of his functions.
Sub-section (5) of Section 3 : No act or proceedings of the Commission shall be invalid by reason only of the existence of any vacancy among its members or any defect in the constitution thereof.
It is also noted by the Commission that sub-section (4) of Section 9 stipulates that quorum for the meeting of the Commission shall be two. In view of these provisions, the Commission considers that there is no bar for holding proceedings of the Commission with two members including the senior member Sri A.R. Mohanty acting as Chairman and discharging the functions as the Chairman under sub-sections (3) and (4) of Section 3 of the OER Act, 1995.
3. The second objection was that sufficient notice has not been given to the affected parties and therefore, the proceedings should not be continued. In this connection, it was argued that giving