NEW DELHI:The Supreme Courton Monday extended the stay on functioning of two members of theCentral Electricity Regulatory Commission(CERC) by four weeks. This means thepower regulatorwill remain non-operational for atleast one more month.
CERC has not held hearings since August 28 this year after the Supreme Court asked two members of CERC to go on leave till the time a member-law is appointed. This has left the regulator with just chairperson PK Pujari while the quorum for hearings is two members, besides the chair.
“The Central government has deposed that IB report has come but final selection of member will take place after Cabinet Committee Meeting and Selection Committee meeting. However, they were not sure, how much time will further take to appoint member law. Additional solicitor general Madhvi Divan, arguing on behalf of the Centre, has asked tentatively for four more weeks’ time. So, CERC will remain non-functional for 4 more weeks,” advocate-on-record Ravi Sharma said.
The apex court also declined an intervenor application filed by ACME Solar seeking partial modifications in the court’s August 28 order, to allow an order reserved by CERC before August 28 be passed. “Notices were issued on the intervention application and 5 weeks’ time has been granted after issuing notice to hear on the intervention application,” Sharma said.
Due to suspension of CERC operations, all new and partly heard hearings have got delayed. Also impacted are cases where hearings have been completed and “orders reserved”.
CERC held 130-140 hearings each in July and August while the number of petitions received were higher.
The commission had recently issued discussion papers on compensation to thermal plants for emission control equipment, compilation of coal price index and market regulations.
In the September 25 hearing, the Central government had submitted in the court that it has shortlisted suitable candidates but regulatory approvals may take time.
Divan had informed the court that after the selection process, the matter has been referred to the Intelligence Bureau for its report. Thereafter, the recommendation will be made to be placed before the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). However, she did not specify any time frame for completion of the process, said the order.
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