The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity(APTEL) has directed the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) to supply electricity to Vedanta Sterlite's copper plant in Tuticorin without insisting on payment of parallel operation charges for the purposes of production of medical grade oxygen.
On April 30, the Supreme Court, taking note of the shortage of medical oxygen amid the COVID crisis, had allowed Vedanta to open the Sterlite plant in Tuticorin - which was shut down for violation of environmental norms - to produce medical grade oxygen. The Supreme Court also held that Vednata cannot operate its copper plant and that it can only open its oxygen plant
TANGEDCO's terms for supply of electricity include a condition to pay parallel operation charges. This condition was challenged by Vedanta before the APTEL. Vedanta said since it cannot carry out any other operation than oxygen production, the levy of parallel operation charges was not attracted.
The APTEL held that Vedanta can be granted relief so that it can comply with the directions of the State Government and the Supreme Court immediately and begin urgent production of medical grade oxygen for supply to the COVID treatment facilities.
"...we direct that the respondent/TANGEDCO shall start supplying electricity to the appellant forthwith, without any further delay, not insisting on the payment of parallel operation charges till further orders", the Tribunal held.
"Having regard to the critical situation currently faced by the public health infrastructure in India, we express hope and trust that the assurances held out by the learned counsel on both sides that electricity will be supplied forthwith, and the production of medical grade oxygen will commence without any further delay, will be scrupulously and sincerely followed up by all concerned", the Tribunal observed.