UPPCL hired firm has links with blacklisted power consultant
LUCKNOW: Here is a real shocker from the power quarters. Bhushan Rastogi and Associates, the consultant blacklisted by UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) on Thursday for hiding facts in getting the contract for preparation of power tariff for 2013-14, has stakes in the consultant company which has now been hired by UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) for preparing next year (2015-16)’s power tariff.
A senior UPERC official said as per the norm if a company has been blacklisted and fined by one organisation, it should not be engaged by the other. UPERC chairman Desh Deepak Verma said they found Rastogi guilty of hiding the fact that his company was related to Percept 360 degrees, which prepared the tariff for UPPCL in 2013. “This amounts to conflict of interest and should be avoided,” Verma said, speaking to TOI on Saturday.
At a recent board meeting UPPCL stated categorically that the contract for preparation of power tariff 2015-16, had been awarded to Percept 360 degrees for a payment of Rs 15 lakh (TOI is in possession of the minutes). Interestingly, Rastogi, the owner of Bhushan Rastogi and Associates, is also a director in Percept 360 degrees.
Director, commercial, Sanjay Singh, confirmed that Rastogi had been involved, but refused to divulge further details. UPPCL managing director A P Mishra too refused to comment. Chairman, UPPCL, Sanjay Agarwal could not be contacted for comment.
The UPERC had also slapped a fine of Rs 2.5 lakh on Rastogi’s company. Verma said they have now imposed rigorous screening of companies participating in UPERC. President of UP Rajya Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad A K Verma said the UPERC should review this fact since the wrong person will be involved in preparation of tariff next year.
The controversy had surfaced last year when on May 8, 2013, UPERC secretary A K Srivastava sent out the contract award letter to Bhushan Rastogi and Associates for “assisting the commission in finalising the annual revenue recovery and tariff order for 2013-14″. For this the consultant was paid Rs 4.25 lakh. The commission asked the consultant to enter into a contractual agreement within three days, by May 11, and start work “immediately”.
The UPERC letter was addressed to Flat No. 4, Daffodil Apartments, 4B La Place Bungalows, Shahnajaf Road, Lucknow. Interestingly, the same address had been given by Percept 360 Degrees Consulting Ltd while participating in the contract.
Even the phone number and email address of Percept 360 Degrees Consulting Ltd and that of Bhushan Rastogi and Associates were the same.
Bushan Rastogi also worked on behalf of Mohit Goyal, vice-president, operations, Percept 360 Degrees Consulting Ltd. This ran contrary to the terms of reference issued by UPERC on May 8, 2013 banning any company which is associated with the power utility while determining the tariff.
Something similar had happened in Delhi three years back. In January 2011, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) appointed ABPS Infrastructure Advisory to determine power tariff for 2011-12. The company, however, had worked for the city’s three power distribution companies, whose tariff petitions were being reviewed.