Adani firms, Tata Power embroiled in Supreme Court over Rs 7,000-crore Mumbai transmission contract

Seeking dismissal of Tata Power Company’s (TPC) appeal against awarding a Rs 7,000 crore transmission contract on a nomination basis to them, Adani Electricity Mumbai Infra and Adani Electricity Mumbai told the Supreme Court that TPC’s attempt is to “sensationalise” and “hijack” the issue as it has vested interests in crippling the transmission infrastructure of Mumbai, solely for commercial interests.

TPC is playing a “dual game, whereby its sole intent is to delay implementation of critical electricity transmission infrastructure”, the two firms have alleged.

Tata Power had questioned the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (MERC) decision and asked how the transmission licence for such a large infrastructure project to build a 1,000-mw high-voltage direct current (VSC-based) link between 400 KV Kudus and 220 KV Aarey EHV station could be awarded without following the process of tariff-based competitive bidding (TBCB) route and by excluding other developers.

The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity had also upheld the Maharashtra power regulator’s decision to award the Rs 7,000-crore transmission contract on a nomination basis to Adani Electricity.

Stating that TPC’s appeal is “motivated”, “completely bald” and “devoid of any merits”, the Adani firms in their response said the Tata firm knows that if the transmission project line is constructed, then the reliance of the Mumbai electricity distribution licensees upon TPC’s own generating stations will reduce. That is why it never implemented its own Vikhroli transmission project, they said.

The Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company, while supporting Adani’s stand, told the SC that the 1000 MW HVDC Link required for bulk power injection in Mumbai is a part of the five-year transmission plan (FY19-25).  It said the TBCB may take more time as the bidding process may take up to two years, as has been the experience in the Vikhroli-Kharghar transmission and other MMR projects. However, the commission may present a suitable strategy for cost competitiveness which will benefit consumers in Maharashtra, the affidavit said, adding that TPC has taken an “inequitable stance” when it comes to TBCB as it opposed the same in other projects and braced it for HVDC.

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