The Supreme Court refused to entertain the Civil Appeal filed by Power Grid Corporation

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New Delhi (18/08/2023): The Supreme Court refused to entertain the Civil Appeal filed by Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd challenging the Order passed by APTEL remanding the CERC order refusing to declare the Raigarh-Pugalur-Thrissur HVDC line as a National Asset of Strategic Importance.

Earlier, when the Power Grid Corporation of India filed applications before the Central electricity regulatory commission for the fixation of tariffs and recovery of the costs on Southern States, including Tamilnadu, the CERC by order dated 29.9.2022 refused to accede to the request of TANGEDCO to declare the Raigarh-Pugalur-Thrissur HVDC transmission assets erected by Power Grid Corporation as a National Asset of Strategic Importance and apportion the cost among all the states in the country.

By order of CERC, Tamilnadu and other southern States alone will incur extra costs of Rs 500 crores every year due to higher tariff fixation when it is a fact that transmission assets are going to help the northern states also.

CERC had already declared Adhani Mundra Mohindergargh’s transmission portion of the assets National assets, and all states were directed to pay the costs. Likewise, Biswanath Chariali – Agra HVDC transmission lines were declared as national assets by CERC, and all states are bearing the price. These two transmission lines are erected in North Eastern states and benefit only Northern States. However, despite all statutory authorities, CEA, POSOCO & CTU recommended CERC to treat the Raigarh-Pugalur-Thrissur HVDC lines as a national Asset of Strategic Importance, all their expert suggestions went in vain, and CERC by order dated 29th September 2022 declared that Raigarh-Pugalur-Thrissur HVDC transmission assets are only regional assets which escalated more cost on each state and thereby directed to pay exorbitant tariffs.

Aggrieved by the order of CERC, the TANGEDCO preferred appeal before APTEL and APTEL, while setting aside the order held that the order was discriminatory, and untenable and remanded to CERC to consider the Raigarh-Pugalur-Thrissur HVDC transmission assets as national assets and to pass order. Not satisfied with the order of Aptel, the Power Grid filed an appeal before the Supreme Court.

Today when the Civil Appeal filed by the PowerGrid Corporation came up for hearing before the bench comprising of Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Mishra, the Hon’ble court concurred with the submissions of Senior Advocate P Wilson appearing for TANGEDCO. It refused to entertain the appeal moved by Mr Maninder Singh Senior Advocate appearing for PGCIL, and dismissed it as devoid of merits. The Hon’ble Supreme Court, while directing the appellant to approach CERC, directed CERC to dispose of the Tariff Petition of Power Grid on or before 31.10.2023.

Before Supreme Court, PGCIL sought 100%recovery of the transmission charges as fixed by CERC in its order dated 29.09.2022 till CERC decides on the Tariff Petitions afresh as remanded by APTEL, which the Supreme Court refused to grant in the instant appeal.

Opposing the Appeal, Senior Advocate P. Wilson appearing for TANGEDCO, argued that the appeal was devoid of any merits and that the CERC order had been passed without looking into the inputs given and concerns of the southern states particularly Tamilnadu and all the expert bodies. He submitted that there would be no prejudice caused to PGCIL as an excess amount of 1300 Crores is already paid by TANGEDCO and is available with Power Grid corporation. He submitted that CERC while passing the impugned order failed to take note of the direction issued by the Ministry of Power to designate the Raigarh-Pugalur-Thrissur HVDC line as a national component which was done after the Chief Ministers met the Prime minister on this issue.

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