Petition No.5 of 2006

Date of order May 5,2006

In the matter of:

Petition under Section 23 of the Electricity Act, 2003 for authorizing the Board to impose power cut, Peak Load Hours Restrictions and taking other Power Regulatory Measures for the year 2006-07.

In the matter of:Punjab State Electricity Board, The Mall, Patiala.
Present:Shri Jai Singh Gill, Chairman
Smt. Baljit Bains, Member
Shri Satpal Singh Pall, Member


PSEB has filed this petition under Section 23 of Electricity Act, 2003 for authorizing the Board to impose power cuts, peak load hour restrictions and taking other power regulatory measures during the year 2006-07. It has been submitted that during the year 2006-07, there shall be shortage in the availability of power vis--vis unrestricted demand (in MW) and energy (in LU) during the year. It has further been intimated that while working out the availability of power, the estimated power/energy from all sources i.e. own power houses including share from BBMB, share from Central Sector power projects, purchase from various agencies, banking with neighbouring states and unscheduled overdrawal(s) have been taken into account. It has been estimated by the PSEB that there shall be shortage of energy and power during the year. As such the Board would be constrained to impose power cuts and take other regulatory measures as under:

  1. to impose evening peak load hour restrictions on industrial consumers (normally Large Supply consumers);

  2. to impose power cuts on industrial sector by way of weekly off days, restrictions on use of quantum of energy etc.;

  3. to impose power cuts on Agriculture sector, Non-Residential Supply and Domestic Supply consumers (rural and urban sectors);

  4. to impose power cuts on other categories of consumers such as Bulk Supply etc. or to take other regulatory measures as required.

    The Board has also intimated that the work of segregation of supply to rural domestic consumers is likely to be completed by March 31, 2006. It has further been intimated that from April 1,2006, adequate supply would be given to villages so as to minimize discrimination amongst urban and rural consumers.

    Vide order dated February 28, 2006, the Commission ordered that public notice inviting objections from the public be published in this regard. It was also decided that public hearings in this respect would be held on March 20, 2006 at Commission's office at Chandigarh. In compliance with the above order, public notice was published in various news papers on March 3, 2006 inviting objections from public and informing date about the public hearing. The following objections were received and all were within due date:

Objection No.Name of the PartyReference No. and date
1Mr.Ravi Datt Sharma,
H. No.60, Sector-21, Chandigarh.
No. Nil dated 3.3.2006
2Mr.Inderjit Singh Kaleka,
4103, Sector 68, S.A.S Nagar (Mohali).
No. Nil dated 13.3.2006
3Shri Angad Singh, Col.(Retd.)
General Secretary,
The Consumer Protection and Grievances
Redressal Forum (Regd.),
1504, Phase III-B-2, S.A.S.Nagar, Mohali
No.CPGR/12687 dated 12.3.2006
4Steel Furnance Association of India
C/o Upper India Steel Mfg.& Engg. Co. Ltd.
Dhandari Industrial Focal Point,
No. Nil dated 10.3.2006
5Shri M.C. Munjal, Chairman,
Punjab State Council, C.I.I.,
Northern Region, Sec 31-A, Chandigarh
No. Nil dated 13.3.2006

    All these objectors have objected to the proposal of the Board for imposing power cuts and suggested that PSEB should develop new power projects, including some fast track projects and improve their maintenance quality. It has also been suggested that power cuts on subsidizing categories should be applied judiciously so that Board's revenue from the highest revenue paying consumers is least affected. It has also been suggested that the Board should not discriminate against major industries as they are the largest contributors of revenue to the Board. It has further been suggested that the additional power requirements of the subsidized categories should be met by arranging power from other sources and unscheduled and unapproved cuts should not be imposed on industry as these impair economy not only of the industry but of the Board and the State as well. The cost of additional power purchase should be borne by State Govt. or the Board and its burden shoul! d not be passed on to the consumers. It has also been suggested that timely intimation of power cut imposition/relaxation, if any, should be given to minimize both material and production losses. Bharti Kisan Union has also filed a Petition wherein interalia it has been brought out that the quality of power being supplied to rural sector is very poor as against the quality of power being supplied to urban areas. The Union has pleaded that there should be no discrimination between urban consumers and rural consumers as far as quality of power is concerned.

    The Board in its response has stated that the Govt. of Punjab and the Board have taken initiatives for addition of generation capacity. These cover some planned projects in the State and taking initiative for signing of agreements for power purchase from projects located outside State. It has been stated that power cuts are being imposed on all categories of consumers. It has further been stated that power cuts on Arc/Induction furnaces and other industrial consumers are duly notified and their working requirements are kept in view. Power cuts on other categories of consumers have to be imposed keeping in view the availability vis--vis demand of power at a particular moment. It has further been stated that in case of scheduled power cuts, intimation is given to various offices of CE's/Distribution, various Industrial Consumer Associations, through press/radio and also Board's website.

    The Commission notes that due to mis-match between availability of power from all sources and ever rising demand for electricity in the State, the Board is deficit in power and is unable to supply uninterrupted power to its consumers. To meet the demand of the consumers/general public, the Board has to impose peak load hour restrictions on industry, put heavy restrictions on supply of power to AP sector and impose power cuts/regulate the energy consumption of other categories of consumers. The Commission notes that the Board has fixed timings for evening peak load restrictions for different periods of the year which vary only due to changes in seasonal demand and sunset timings. The Commission also notes that Bharti Kisan Union has been pleading for better quality of supply. The Commission appreciates the difficulties of the Board in supplying power to consumers of all categories in urban and rural areas equitably. However, disparities in quality of power supply to d! ifferent classes of consumers or between urban and rural consumers are against the principles of justice and equality and need to be minimized.

    Vide order dated March 31,2006, the Commission ordered that authorization for power cuts etc. already issued be continued for three months or upto the date of passing of the Tariff Order for the year 2006-07 which ever is earlier.

    The Commission, now, decides to authorize the Board to impose restrictions/power cuts and other regulatory measures to bridge the gap between demand and supply of power. Such measures will, however, be taken only to the minimum extent to ensure least disturbance, dislocation and inconvenience to the consumers and general public while keeping in view the requirement of the power system. The Board will also ensure that purchase of power for this purpose is only for the required quantum and at judicious and economic cost. The Board should also ensure to make arrangements to inform the consumers well in advance of the scheduled power cuts. If the contingency so arises, the Board may impose unscheduled power cuts also. However, these should be kept to the minimum. The Commission further decides that the Board should take adequate steps to minimize discrimination amongst consumers of different categories especially rural and urban domestic consumers as far as possible wh! ile imposing power cuts.

(Satpal Singh Pall)(Baljit Bains)(Jai Singh Gill)

Place: Chandigarh

Dated: May 5, 2006