In a reprieve for Reliance Power (RPower), the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL) has permitted the firm’s appeal against the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission’s June 20 order on a dispute over the commercial operation date of the RPower-owned Sasan ultra mega power project (UMPP).
RPower had earlier claimed that the first unit of the 3,960 MW plant had commenced commercial operations on March 31, 2013. Based on a petition filed subsequently by the Western Region Load Dispatch Centre disputing the commissioning schedule claimed by RPower, the CERC on June 20 had set aside the certificate issued by an Independent Engineer (IE) declaring the COD (commercial operation date) of Sasan project’s first 660 MW unit.
The APTEL, in its judgement dated August 12, has now set aside the CERC’s order and has directed the Commission to decide the matter “afresh”, including the issue of maintainability raised by Sasan Power Ltd — the wholly owned subsidiary of RPower implementing the Sasan UMPP — “without being influenced by its earlier findings”.
“The (CERC) order is set aside and the matter is remanded back to the Central Commission to decide the issues afresh after hearing of the Appellant (Sasan Power) and other concerned parties,” APTEL said. The CERC, in its June order, had set aside the certificate issued by Independent Engineer’s (IE) for declaration of COD of Sasan UMPP’s first 660 MW Unit and said Sasan Power had flouted norms. For a power plant to be declared ‘commissioned’ the unit must operate for 72 consecutive hours at or above 95 per cent of its contracted capacity. In the CERC, the Western Regional Load Despatch Centre had argued that the 660 MW first unit of the Sasan UMPP generated only 153 MW and hit a maximum capacity of 165 MW on March 30, 2013, thereby disputing the COD declared by Sasan Power. The date of commissioning gains importance as the first financial year of operation would be pushed ahead to 2013-14 for RPower.