In order to make the process of handling appeals from consumers easier, the Appelate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) will have a circuit bench in Chennai by the end of August, said the tribunal’s chairperson justice M Karpagavinayagam. Speaking after convening a session on relationship between the Electricity Regulatory Commission, State government, consumers and advocates, he said, “We are in the process of looking for a suitable venue to hold the proceedings here. Once that is done, the bench will commence handling appeals.” Similar circuit benches will be created in Mumbai and Kolkata, in accordance with an order passed in May. “Appeals from all the southern states can be handled in the Chennai centre, while the same proximity-guideline will apply to the other centres,” he said.
At least one judicial member and one technical member will be part of the bench that tries the appeals. They will try to be in every city at least “one week every month” to ensure connectivity. Considering close to ten appeals are filed in Delhi every week, every visit to a circuit city will dispose of at least one appeal, he said hopefully.
However, all the appellants will have to file their cases before the tribunal in Delhi. “This is paperwork that we follow as a matter of course. But after an appeal has been accepted for deliberation, then the appellants will be given the option of carrying it forward in their own regions,” he explained. Though he declined to comment on the TNEB’s purchase of power from the private sector, he said that the state-run body was “improving from a fallen state to a respectable position slowly.”
He added that the reduction of debt burden to Rs 4000 crore was a positive sign and the progress on power projects at Mettur, North Madras and Koodankulam were all “promising”.