Petition No. 21 of 2006
Date of order:14.9.2007

In the matter of:

Petition for inclusion of all the objections raised by the petitioner in the Order dated 10.5.2006 passed by the Hon’ble Commission on the ARR of the PSEB for the year FY 2007 and passing a speaking order on each objection raised by the petitioner.

In the matter of:M/S Birla Plus Cement, Lehra Mohabat, District Bhatinda.
Punjab State Electricity Board, The Mall Patiala.
Present:Shri Jai Singh Gill,Chairman
Smt. Baljit Bains, Member
Shri Satpal Singh Pall, Member

The petitioner, through this petition, has assailed Regulations No. 20.3.1, 82.9, 82.9.1 and 9.2 of the Sales Regulations of the Board. In respect of Regulation No.20.3.1, it is submitted by the petitioner that service connection charges may not be charged from the consumer if he intends to enhance his load in case he has paid full cost of the line and same can take up the additional load. It is further submitted that the Board should refund prorata ACD at the time of load reduction by a consumer. With regard to Regulation No.82.9, it is stated that penalty may not be levied for exceeding connected load. In so far as Regulation No.82.9.1, it is submitted that if a consumer does not exceed his contract demand, he may not be held responsible for any damage to the PSEB system. As far as Regulation No.9.2 is concerned, it is contended that provisions may be made for enabling industrial consumers to avail of additional temporary load if the existing supply line and meter can take up the increased load.

The Board has filed its reply to the petition. In respect of Regulation 20.3.1 it is submitted that the consumer is not required to pay service connection charges for extension in load when he has paid full cost of the line provided the cost of the original line paid by the consumer is more than per KW charges calculated at the applicable rate on the total load including the extension in load applied for by the consumer. Regarding ACD, it is stated by the Board that ACD is a one time Advance Consumption Deposit from a consumer on the basis of connected load as security for payment of electricity bills and the same is refundable only after the consumer gets his supply disconnected. It is also submitted that if a consumer wishes to get his ACD refunded on account of reduction of load, he can first opt for disconnection and get his ACD refunded at the old rates and then apply for a new connection depositing ACD at the prevailing rates. As far as Sales Regulation 82.9 is concerned, the Board has submitted that service connection charges and ACD are levied on the basis of sanctioned load and if the consumer runs load in excess of the sanctioned load, the Board has the right to levy surcharge as it is being deprived of higher ACD and service connection charges that it would otherwise be entitled to. It is also submitted in the reply that there is a provision that no load surcharge will be imposed if sanctioned load is exceeded only to the extent of 25% in case of green category industry located in non-residential areas and 10% of the sanctioned load in other cases subject to maximum of 250 KW.

A public notice inviting objections was published in leading news papers on 16/17 June, 2007 seeking comments/objections within 21 days of the publication of the notice. The State Government was also requested to send their views in this connection but no response has been received either from the Government or the public. However comments/objections on the subject have been filed in the matter of suo motu determination of ARR and Tariff for the year 2007-08. Some of the objectors like, The Goraya Regd. Factory Owner’s Association, Hand Tools Manufacturers Association, Induction Furnace Ass. of North India, Siel Chemical Complex etc., have stated that Service Connection Charges (SCC), ACD and Monthly Minimum Charges (MMCs) may be calculated on the basis of sanctioned contract demand and not on the connected load and that checking of connected load ought to be dispensed with.

The petitioner and the Board were heard on 30.5.2007. The former reiterated the position as brought out in para 1 above. On behalf of the Board, it was urged that it releases temporary additional load upto 25% of the sanctioned load to DS/NRS consumers for ceremonial purposes like marriages, religious functions and festivals. This facility is also available to AP consumers for operating wheat threshers, chaff cutters and cane crushers for self use. It has also been urged that temporary additional load for DS/NRS consumers are generally of limited quantum whereas in the case of industrial supply, additional requirements would generally be for construction and expansion where the enhanced loads would be heavy and the requirements likely to persist over longer periods.

Arguments on behalf of the petitioner and the Board have been considered as also the objections separately received. The Commission notes that the issue of allowing enhancement in connected load of Large Supply consumers without change in contract demand and recovery of additional service connection charges has been dealt with in Regulation 9.1.2 of the PSERC (Electricity Supply Code and Related Matters) Regulations 2007 notified by the Commission while Regulation 16 thereof adequately deals with the issue of refund of ACD/security.

In so far as Regulation 82.9 (re-numbered as S1.9.1 in PSEB’s General Conditions of Tariff and Schedules of Tariff) is concerned, the Commission observes that Regulation 14.3 of PSEB Electricity Supply Regulations provides that the service line in the case of Large Supply consumers is designed on the basis of contract demand. It is also relevant to note that all Large Supply consumers have been provided with electronic meters which record maximum demand and these readings are easily available for checking purposes. In the light of this situation, the concept of sanctioned load loses its relevance. Accordingly, the Commission directs that Large Supply Industrial consumers covered under Schedule S-1 of the Schedule of Tariff for Large Industrial Supply (LS) will not be levied any load surcharge/penalty for exceeding their connected load if they do not exceed contract demand. The Commission further directs that Large Supply consumers will be levied demand surcharge @ Rs.750/- per KVA for each default (in lieu of Rs.250/- per KVA for each default) for demand exceeding sanctioned contract demand. The levy of demand surcharge is covered under clause S1.8 of the Schedules of Tariff approved by the Commission. In the light of the above discussions, the Commission further directs that clauses S1.8, S1.9.1 & S1.9.2 of the Schedules of Tariff will be amended on the above lines. In addition, MMC will henceforth be leviable on contract demand basis and not on sanctioned load basis in the case of Large Supply consumers.

In respect of Regulation 9.2 of Electricity Supply Regulations of PSEB, the Commission observes that for the foregoing reasons there is no reason why Large Supply consumers should not be at liberty to install additional load so long as they remain within the sanctioned contract demand. There does not, however, appear to be sufficient justification for allowing any relaxation if sanctioned contract demand is exceeded even if temporarily as the system of the licensee is designed on the basis of contract demand. The petition is disposed of accordingly.
(Satpal Singh Pall) (Baljit Bains) (Jai Singh Gill)

Dated: September 14, 2007