Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) has raised a demand that the next Rajasthan Electricity Commission (RERC) chairperson should be selected from a pool of expert personnel rather than bureaucrats who are on the verge of their retirement.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, Cuts Secretary General Pradeep S. Mehta wrote that these commissions are aimed at “ensuring a balanced, impartial and proactive decision making”.

“To meet this challenging task, these bodies need to be manned with capable and energetic individuals, having the required vigour and expertise to take the challenge head on, “he said.

“Most often the state governments have preferred to appoint those bureaucrats who have either retired, or at the verge of that. Hence these ‘independent’ institutions are increasingly becoming a roosting ground for sineeures, which reflects in the performance of these institutions and erodes their credibility.” Mehta added.

The RERC, established in 1999, was till now headed by former Chief Secretary Arun Kumar. He retired on Saturday and there are rumours that another senior IAS officer would be soon handed over the post.

Under the Electricity Act of 2003, states have been asked to establish these commissions that are aimed at determining the tariff for generation, supply, transmission and wheeling of electricity, regulating electricity purchase and facilitating intra-state transmission, among others.

The act says the chairperson and state commission members should be “persons of ability, integrity and standing who have adequate knowledge of and have shown capacity in dealing with problems relating to engineering, finance, commerce, economics, law or management.”

Mehta, in his letter, requested the Chief Minister to “set an example before the rest of the states by appointing capable people who are in their mid forties, with proven expertise in economics or business management”.

“The very purpose of setting up these independent commissions will be defeated if the government indirectly controls the decision-making process.” Added Cuts Policy Analyst Vinayak Pandey.