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Residents to pay commercial tariff for treating water, sewage: TNERC

Domestic tariff cannot be made applicable for electricity consumed to treat water or sewage, or for running fire hydrant systems, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission has said. The TNERC clarification came after the apartment owners at Siruseri made a representation to bring these services under the essential category and spare them from paying the commercial tariff.

Residents to pay commercial tariff for treating water, sewage: TNERC
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The petition was moved by the Eden Park Residents’ Welfare Association, Siruseri seeking clarity on the 2017 tariff order that restricted common power supply under the domestic tariff to common lighting, water supply and lift with the Tangedco levying commercial tariff on water and sewage treatment plants and fire hydrant system. 

The association argued that the tariff order refers to only facilities such as gymnasium, community hall, amphitheatres, etc, which are considered non-essential for residential purposes, but does not refer to services linked to water treatment, sanitation and life safety which are essential and integral part of the residential complex eco-system. 

Pointing out that the establishment of treatment plants and fire safety equipment is mandatory for the housing projects to get DTCP approval, the association said that since the local authority does not supply water, water treatment plants and fire safety hydrants are essential for living. 

Responding to it, Tangedco said the applicable tariff for water and sewage treatment plants and fire hydrant systems is low tension commercial tariff as per the provision of the prevailing tariff order. 

In its order, the TNERC said it has clearly restricted the usage of electricity supply for common lighting, common water supply and lift only and there is no ambiguity at all. “Inclusion of the water treatment plant, sewage treatment plant and fire safety in LT tariff I-A was neither sought for nor rejected in tariff order. Moreover, any specific inclusion under a tariff category can be decided only after hearing the stakeholders at large, and it cannot be considered at the request of a petitioner when there is no imparity or ambiguity in the prevailing tariff order,” it said. 

The commission also expressed surprise over how three separate LT service connections with the capacity of 70 kilowatts each were effected on the same premises when there is an express provision to group them as common facilities. It directed the Tangedco to strictly adhere to TNERC’s distribution code 2004 and the tariff orders issued from time to time. 

Disposing of the petition, the commission directed the Tangedco to evolve a proposal containing the details of similar services, its energy consumption per annum and other details and submit the same at the time of filing of the petition for determination of tariff.

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