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NTPC did not abuse position, CERC tells private producers

Electricity regulator, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has ruled that state-run NTPC did not abuse its dominant position in signing power purchase agreements, as alleged by private power producers.

The ruling came on a complaint filed by the Association of Power Producers which had alleged that NTPC had abused its dominant position in signing purchase power pacts for about 37,000 mw capacity prior to the coming into force of tariff- based bidding regime in January 2011.

The association is a grouping of private companies including Tata Power, Reliance Power and JSW Energy.

‘We hold that the PPAs signed by NTPC are within the framework and the time permitted under the Tariff Policy and therefore, no direction is called for under section 60 of the Act,’ the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission  said in its order dated 26 April.

Section 60 of the Electricity Act relates to market dominance.

Further, CERC noted that it did not consider it necessary to refer the matter to fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) for its opinion.

The Association of Power Producers had filed the petition against NTPC in May 2011. The order came on the issue of ‘conduct of NTPC during October 2010 and 5 January, 2011 in rushing to sign Power Purchase Agreements for supply of 37,000 mw of electricity abusing its dominant position, thereby causing adverse effect on competition in electricity industry’.

When contacted, Association of Power Producers’ Director General Ashok Khurana said it would pursue legal action.

‘We (association) will take legal opinion and will pursue legal action,’ he said and asserted that by signing these PPAs, NTPC had blocked the space for private players.

At the time of petition, the association members were Reliance Power, Tata Power, Essar Power, Adani Power, AES (India), CLP Power India, GMR Energy, GVK Gautami Power, Indiabulls Power, Jindal Power, JSW Energy and Lanco. Currently, the Association of Power Producers have about 30 members. NTPC, in its submission on 13 July, 2012, had indicated to the CERC the status of projects with capacity of 35,600 mw for which the PPAs have been executed by NTPC but which are unlikely to be taken up during the 12th Plan as the investment approvals were still under process.

‘Consequently, there is sufficient time frame available for the stakeholders to adjust long term plan for capacity addition, transmission planning and fuel requirement.

‘... it needs to be emphasised that the distribution companies and state electricity boards who have signed the PPAs with NTPC have planned their future requirement of power accordingly,’ CERC said.

Citing consumer interests, CERC said all these projects should be implemented in a time bound manner.

 
WE MAY HAVE TO IMPORT COAL TILL 2017: GOVT

India, which imported 110.42 million tonnes of coal during April-January 2013 may have to bank on imports even till 2017 to meet shortages, the government said on Monday.

‘It is estimated that there will remain a gap between demand and domestic production even by the terminal year of the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) which will need to be met through imports,’ Minister of State for Coal Pratik Prakashbabu Patil told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

He said the country imported 110.42 mt of coal, mainly from Indonesia, Australia, South Africa and US, between April 2012 and January 2013.
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