Govt begins hunt for SERC members again

Govt begins hunt for SERC members again
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The commission is dysfunctional since 2016 end

SRINAGAR: The state government has again begun to look for members for the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC), which has remained dysfunctional for the last one and half year, sources said.
It is the second time in less than a year that the government is working on making the quasi-judicial body mandated to fix power tariff functional. In August last year, government had nominated officials for the three member commission but due to differences over the appointment of chairman within the PDP-BJP government, the list was not cleared by the cabinet.
“Government has again begun to look for SERC members recently. The government did the same process last time in August, but it did not bear fruit. I am not sure whether the new process would reach its end, but the hunt has begun,” a source said.
The three member commission headed by its chairman decides the power tariff for consumers, which is first put in public domain, before approval by the government, before the start of a financial year.
The government has to appoint chairman of the commission, a member from Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, and another member.
In the absence of commission, people have not been burdened with additional electricity fee, a former officer of Power Department said.
“The mandate of SERC is also to see the power purchase agreements, expenses of PDD, and erratic power supply supplied to people. But in most of the cases, it is known that PDD has no direct fault. The erratic supply is because of high consumption, and low supply. Government knows it, so PDD cannot be made liable,” the official said.
The Jammu and Kashmir purchases enough electricity for consumption, but a lot of it gets wasted during transmission, distribution and due to pilferages. Last winter when the Kashmir Valley faced power cuts, government was ready to buy additional power, but engineers in PDD were reluctant because of lack of a transmission line.
Hirdesh Kumar Commissioner/ Secretary Power Development Department did not respond to repeated calls from this newspaper.