BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) on Monday was forced to suspend a public hearing amid protests by aggrieved consumers and members of Odisha Rajya Bidyut Upavokta Mahasangha (ORBUM).
More than 100 protesters gathered in front of the office of the OERC here and demanded a financial audit of private power distribution companies (Discoms) by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) apart from withdrawal of the proposed power tariff hike.
The irate protesters broke glass doors and a part of boundary wall of the OERC office. The Commissionerate Police rushed a platoon of force to bring the situation under control.
The protesters demanded immediate withdrawal of the order which was issued to OERC by the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) for recovering the Aggregate Transmission and Commercial (ATC) losses worth more than `4000 crore with retrospective effect from 2006.
Speaking to mediapersons, president of ORBUM Panchanan Kanungo demanded the CAG to audit Discoms in order to asses the correct figure of losses which the latter claimed to have incurred.
Besides, 50 per cent subsidy to farmers for irrigation purpose and exemption of `4200 crore demanded by Discoms towards ATC losses were also on ORBUM’s agenda. “Why should poor consumers shoulder the burden of ATC losses which were a result of administrative and technical mismanagement by Discoms,” a protester questioned.
Sources in OERC said the Commission has already moved the Supreme Court against the order of APTEL for recovering ATC losses, apart from apprising the Government of wide ramifications of power tariff hike.
Among others, Congress leader Kailash Acharya, BJP leaders Pruthwiraj Harichandan and Bhrugu Buxipatra and senior journalist Rabi Das joined the protest.