The APTEL observed that though it has not laid distribution network for supplying power to residential consumers of RInfra, Tata Power has not resorted to cherry picking, the Tata Group company said attributing the information to the order passed by the tribunal, which is yet to be uploaded on its website.

"It is correct that Tata Power has not laid low-tension network to switch-over consumers over the residential consumers who were availing supply from Tata Power on Rinfra's network and who were in the vicinity of the network laid down by Tata Power. This could not be termed as cherry-picking as it had been done in the interest of the consumers and is also in line with the decision of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC)," the APTEL order said.

Therefore, it is in the interest of consumers of both the utilities that they continue to get supply from Tata Power on RInfra's network even if a 33/22 kV sub-station of the former is available in the vicinity, the tribunal said.

"It will also be convenient and economical for the consumers to changeover back to RInfra in case its tariff becomes more attractive in future," the APTEL noted.

Commenting on the ruling, RInfra spokesperson said, "The recent judgments of APTEL upholds our stance to protect low- end consumers. The tribunal has also confirmed that high-end consumers supplied by Tata Power need to pay cross subsidy surcharge and regulatory assets which would create level-playing field and protect the interest of low-end consumers.

"The tribunal has also restrained the Tatas from laying network. This will protect interest of 23 lakh low-end consumers in suburbs of Mumbai," RInfra said.

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