The State’s solar mission has come to a nought.
The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has passed an order stating that there is no legal sanctity to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation’s (Tangedco) transparent bidding process for solar power purchase from 52 companies.
“The bidding process has no legal sanctity for consideration under Section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003,” said TNERC members S. Nagalsamy and G. Rajagopal in an order on Monday, a copy of which is available with The Hindu.
“The petitions suffer from the prerequisite of transparent bidding process in accordance with the guidelines issued be the Central government,” the order said dismissing the Tangedco’s petitions to approve its proposal to purchase 708 MW of solar power from 52 generators within the State for 20 years.
Reproducing Section 63 (Determination of Tariff by bidding process) of the Electricity Act, 2003 in its order, the commission said the words “in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Central government” in the section were significant.
The TNERC said the petitioner had averred that there were no Central guidelines and the Ministry of Renewable Energy had issued draft guidelines only on December 27, 2012 – that is after the tender invited by the Tangedco.
As specified in the Section 63, the Centre’s guidelines were a prerequisite for the transparent process of bidding. Therefore, the Tangedco’s bidding had no legal sanctity for consideration under Section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003, the TNERC ruled.
When the Tangedco contended that they followed Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tenders Act 1998 for conducting the bidding, the TNERC said it was an accepted principle that “If a statute directs a thing to be done in certain way that thing shall not be done in any other way.”
“It is legally invalid to follow any other terms / procedure for the bidding process,” the TNERC said categorically.