BHUBANESWAR:The Opposition Congress on Wednesday demanded that the CAG should audit the accounts of the power distribution licensees of the State for the last nine years. It also demanded a white paper on the power sector.
Accusing the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) of failing to regulate the distribution utilities and penalise them for not achieving the set parameters, Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra said there should not be any tariff hike till the CAG audit report is out.
Raising the issue in the Assembly through a special mention in the backdrop of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATE) directing OERC to refix the retail supply tariff of the Reliance Infrastructure-managed distribution companies (discoms) retrospectively from 2006-07 and the commission’s move to comply with the Tribunal order, Mishra said the silence of the State Government on such a sensitive issue is baffling.
Implementation of ATE orders will entail a burden of about Rs 4,200 crore on the power consumers of NESCO, SOUTHCO and WESCO.
“It is unfortunate that after more than 20 years of power sector reforms, we have nothing to boast of. The sector is still technically and financially sick,” Mishra said.
While power tariff for low transmission consumers has increased by 37 per cent during the last four years, only 43 per cent households have access to electricity.
The average transmission and commercial (AT&C) loss of the State is 37 per cent as against national average of 27.15 per cent and 12.94 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, he said.
The State ranked at 19 at the national level so far as electricity consumption in agriculture sector is concerned. Since the State Government has not added generating capacity during the last two decades, it has to buy costly thermal power resulting in higher tariff to the consumers.
As the private discoms have failed to meet the objective of providing quality power at affordable price by promoting efficiency in the distribution business, Mishra said the distribution licences of the utilities should be withdrawn.
‘CAG Should Audit Accounts’
Slamming the OERC for not taking action against the discoms for unscheduled power cuts and recovery of arrear dues, Mishra sought a direction from Speaker Niranjan Pujari that CAG should audit the discoms accounts. Supporting the demand for CAG audit, Congress members Debendra Sharma, Naba Kishore Das, Anshuman Mohanty, Subal Sahu and Tara Prasad Bahinipati said the Government’s silence proves that it is hand in glove with the Reliance subsidiaries. Senior BJD leader and former minister S N Patro, who defended the OERC’s action in the House, told reporters later that the State Government will pay a heavy price like the Congress for protecting the interest of big industrial house like Reliance at the cost of consumers.