THE COMMISSION IN BRIEF

The Commission was constituted under the Electricity Regulatory Commissions Act 1998 (No.14 of 1998) (The Act) which provides for the establishment of regulatory commissions at the centre as well as in the states, rationalisation of electricity tariff, formulation of transparent policies regarding subsidies, and promotion of efficient and environmentally benign policies. To view a full copy of the Act, click here.

The Commission consists of a Chairperson, three other full-time Members and the Chairman of the Central Electricity Authority who is a Member, Ex-Officio. In recognition of the need for a multi disciplinary approach while addressing issues related to independent regulation, the Act prescribes that the Chairperson and Members shall be persons having adequate knowledge and experience in engineering, law, economics, commerce, finance or management. It also prescribes a broad mix of disciplines to be represented in the Commission. The Chairperson and Members are appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of a Selection Committee constituted by the Central Government as prescribed under the Act. The Act also provides for the appointment of a Secretary, functioning under the control of the Chairperson, whose powers and duties are defined by the Commission.

The Chairman and Members took the oath of office in early August, 1998 and commenced the initial work relating to the setting up of the Commission.

The Commission has a sanctioned staff strength of 26 professionals in the areas of Economics, Engineering, Finance, Legal and Administration To view the the organisation chart click here. The Commission intends to utilise the human resources available within the government, industry and research institutions, to fill these vacancies so as to make available, within the Commission, a wide range of expertise and experience. Till the end of March 1999 the Commission was functioning with only a skeletal staff of 3 professionals. With the assistance of Task Force staff from POWERGRID, NTPC, consultants and through intensive individual efforts of the Members and the Secretary, the Commission was able to initiate the process for finalisation of the service regulations, recruitment of staff, selection of suitable accommodation and the provision of basic office facilities. By the end of the year these initiatives had produced results and, despite the continuing shortage of staff, the Commission was well on its way towards dealing with substantive issues within its mandate.

The Commission has a very wide mandate under the Act. Its jurisdiction extends to the entire range of activities in the electric power sector, either directly through its power to regulate inter-state transmission and the tariff of central generators, or indirectly, through its responsibility to formulate guidelines and to advise the Government of India in formulation of policies. Under the provisions of the Amendment Act, 1998 through a amendment of the Indian Electricity Act, 1910 the Commission has been in power to license transmission utilities for inter-state transmission systems. Through a amendment of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948 the Commission will now specify the fees and charges to be paid to the Regional Load Depspatch Centres. Independent regulation is still at an evolutionary stage in India. Consequently the Commission intends to supplement the skills and experience available to it in-house through the use of consultants. Towards this end it would be framing appropriate regulations for the utilisation of consultants.

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