HC upholds rise in gas transmission charges
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court has lifted its stay on the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board’s decision to hike gas transmission charges and ordered Torrent Power Ltd to pay the charges accordingly since 2012. A part payment was made by the power company, but with the revision of gas transmission tariff in December 2018, the HC stayed the recovery by the state owned Gujarat State Petronet Ltd (GSPL) as well as payment of increased rate for gas transportation. With the interim order by the HC upholding the Board’s decision to raise transmission charge to Rs 34 per Million British Thermal Units (MMBTU), the GSPL can recover the pending amount from Torrent and levy increased charges. GSPL’s advocate Aspi Kapadia said that the power company may pass over the burden to end consumer by raising electricity charges, but it will first have to obtain mandatory permission from the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission to increase power tariff for consumers, though there could be a marginal rise in tariff. The HC has also lifted a stay on the Board’s tariff order with regard to South Gujarat Small Gas Consumers Association, which draws gas from GAIL (India) Ltd. Torrent has challenged the Board’s decision to increase gas transportation charges through its December 2018 tariff order by contending that the Board cannot raise charges at its whims, but this exercise can be done only through regulations.