R-Infra, Tata Power war of words intensifies

While R-Infra in a booklet distributed to its consumers claimed that Tata Power is planning to make Rs1,200 crore at the cost of Mumbai consumers by diverting the electricity produced for Mumbai to areas outside the metropolis, the latter stated that R-Infra is trying to restrain its consumers from  switching over to Tata Power

Anil Ambani Group company Reliance Infra (R-Infra) today unleashed a public campaign accusing Tata Power Company (TPC) of planning to make a profit of Rs1,200 crore at the cost of Mumbaikars, an allegation termed by Tata Power as "malicious" and against the "ethos of competition and consumer interest," reports PTI.

The two companies have been locked in a bitter row for over two years over power supply. Tata Power used to sell 500MW to R-Infra but threatened to stop doing so, with the latter refusing to sign a power purchase agreement (PPA).

R-Infra supplies power to Mumbai's suburbs.

Unleashing its public campaign, R-Infra distributed a booklet, which said that Tata Power is planning to make Rs1,200 crore at the cost of Mumbai consumers by diverting the electricity produced for Mumbai to outside the metropolis.

In a strongly-worded statement, Tata Power said the campaign "...is essentially a diversionary tactic to divert the attention of Mumbai consumers from the persistent failures of R-Infra to manage its costs, including power procurement costs, as a result of which Mumbai consumers are faced with unprecedented tariff burden not seen anywhere else in the country."

The statement further said the "...booklet is an attempt to disturb the freedom of choice available to the consumers; thereby restricting the switchover from R-Infra to Tata Power that is in process in suburban Mumbai and is gaining momentum with each passing day."

In another statement R-Infra claimed that the company has witnessed an "increase in demand" this summer due to "continuously increasing consumer base".

"The company has seen its consumer base increasing by 1.15 lakh new consumers over last year as against the migration of 45,000 consumers to another utility; thus net addition 70,000 consumers," an R-Infra statement said.

"This year, during summer the company recorded a maximum demand (peak load) of 1,449 MW against the 1,410 MW last year, an increase of almost 3%; whereas the minimum demand (base load) has gone up from 790 MW to 848 MW, an increase of almost 6%," it added.

Tata Power had earlier said it would stop supply to R-Infra and is considering all options, including legal, in the face of a state government directive to continue supplying 360 MW power to R-Infra till 30th June.

The Maharashtra government had directed Tata Power to provide 360 MW power to R-Infra till 30th June at a regulated rate and 200 MW till 31 March 2011.

Meanwhile, Tata Power approached MERC against the State Load Despatch Centre's (SLDC) refusal to schedule 160 MW power to its distribution company, Tata Power Distribution, which is already slated for hearing. Tata Power said that it needs 160 MW power to cater its own customers migrated recently from R-Infra.


Anil, Mukesh Ambani groups sign gas supply deal

Although neither side gave details of the revised gas supply agreement, sources in RNRL said that it is for a period of 17 years for projects totalling 8,400MW at a government-determined price of $4.2 per mmBtu

An Anil Ambani group firm today announced that it signed an agreement for availing of gas from Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) in accordance with a Supreme Court (SC) direction, but supply will be subject to government policy, reports PTI.

The announcement of the deal comes within weeks of the warring brothers signing a truce agreement for creating a "harmonious environment of cooperation and collaboration" between their respective groups.

Shortly after the deal was signed today between Mukesh-led RIL and Anil group firm Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL), the agreement was submitted to the government for necessary action, oil ministry sources said but clarified that neither any quantity, duration of gas supply, specific project nor price was mentioned.

Although neither side gave details of the revised gas supply agreement, sources in RNRL said that it is for a period of 17 years for projects totalling 8,400 MW at a government determined price of $4.2 per million British thermal units (mmBtu).

When contacted, RIL spokesperson declined to give details saying that the contract was as per the direction of the Supreme Court and in accordance with government's policies.

The government has fixed a price of $4.2 per mmBtu for five years for gas from RIL's Krishna Godavari (KG) D-6 fields.

The government sources further clarified that it was the master agreement about the intent to supply gas and any specific details ranging from pricing to tenure and projects could be contained only in GSPA.

It may be recalled that only last week the oil ministry officials were reported to have said that any gas supply to Anil's group firm could be only closer to commissioning of any project.

They, however, said today that it was for the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) to see if an exception can be made for Anil Ambani group and gas could be reserved for his project.

RNRL had gone to court against RIL in 2006, seeking 28 million metric standard cubic metres of gas per day (mmscmd) of gas for its proposed Dadri plant at a rate of %2.34 per mmBtu-a demand that was rejected by the Supreme Court citing that government had the last word on utilisation and pricing of gas.

The government fixed price for gas from RIL's KG-D6 fields is $4.20 per mmBtu.

"With legal dispute (over supply and pricing of natural gas from RIL's Krishna Godavari basin fields to Anil Ambani Group's power plants) behind us, we look forward to a harmonious and constructive relationship with Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG)," Mukesh Ambani had said at RIL's Annual General Meeting on 18th June.

He had also said that "as and when the power plants of ADAG are ready to receive gas, we would commence supplies to them subject to government granting allocation."

The two brothers reconciled their differences on 23rd May, when they scrapped a non-compete agreement that allowed flexibility to expand into areas hitherto reserved for each of them and aimed at "creating overall environment of harmony, cooperation and collaboration between the two groups."

Propelled by the news of a revised gas pact with RIL, RNRL shares immediately surged 8% intra-day but settled 3.29% up at Rs65.95 a piece.

RIL shares were 1.14% up at Rs1,063.25 a share on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).


Irresponsible advertising

There is a fine line between irreverence and irresponsibility, and advertisers need to be watchful of that

Okay, I am gonna be a little 'uncool' tonight. Yes, I do think it's great fun to watch irreverent commercials, particularly for brands targeted at the so-called Gen X.

It's a great way to break the clutter and connect with the younger consumers. Virgin Mobile ads are a good example, and they have been doing a fine job of whacky, outrageous advertising, and so is the case with many other brands.
However, there is a Lakshman Rekha between irreverence and irresponsibility, and advertisers need to be watchful of that. While offence may help the brands get noticed quickly (it's a cheap short cut… the best way to get a person's attention is to hit him, right?), its impact on the society at large cannot be ignored. Since the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India)… the desi 'watchdog'… lacks both, the bark and the bite, some amount of self-regulation becomes paramount.
Let me discuss two recent commercials to make the point (and there are more such on air). One is for Vodafone Football alerts. A dude is seen enjoying a romantic moment with his partner at a lonely park. Impatient to enjoy the game with his buddies, he leaves a life-sized doll next to her (while she isn't looking) so she can cuddle up with the thing, thinking it's her boyfriend. Not a very decent thing to do. Shows women in a very poor light, and also begs the question of safety issues, of dumping a girl alone in a desolate park. I am sure the intention wasn't harmful, but should these issues be considered while writing ads, is the question. Is this the new age morality? To treat your girlfriend like a dumb bimbo?
Another commercial is for Micromax (yes, the same cell phone that usually unleashes actor Akshay Kumar's highly repulsive laughter in its ads). This one features his missus Twinkle Khanna. She carries her twinkling cell phone to a fashion show. And smiles on cheerfully as the catwalk queens, blinded by the radiant phone, bang into each other and crash out on the ramp. Can anyone find this commercial even remotely funny? What sort of sadistic minds are the Micromax guys targeting?
Here's the disturbing trend: as competition gets harder, as ideas dry up, we can expect lots of irresponsible ads in the coming years. Advertisers and their agencies must watch out for this. You don't need research to tell you ads do impact people.

Not just in terms of product sales, but also in the way we see own selves, the way we think, the way we behave. Advertising, after all, does feed on our insecurities. In fact, public service advertising would be a sham if there was no behavioural change.
So, call me uncool if you like. Call me jaded if you like. But keep your ads cool, not crass. Let's not turn our youngsters into offensive cads. 



Sunil Date

6 years ago

The Axis bank ad shows a husband who cannot go to the bank bcsause his stomach is upset. Fine. But do they have to keep on showing the toilet ?

The wheel washing bar ad includes a famous actor, who had overrun on people sleeping on footpath in a drunken state. Are they trying to imply that not only your clothes will be white clean, your character belmishes will also be washed clean ?

The latest haywards 5000 ad shows a medical representative who keeps on travelling into the interiors getting confidance by using their product. Is it resposible advertising ?

The Rin ad challnges any one to Rs one cr through Kajol the actress. I challenge HLL and any other washing soap/bar that if they can make my 3 month old vest, white again, I will buy my one years requirement in one lot.


6 years ago

seriously ???

Geordie Job Pottas

6 years ago

Mr.Anil, You seem to be a person with a very narrow point of view regarding the ads of today. I am not targeting all your comments in the previous days. In the vodafone ad that you were talking about, you blamed that this ad shows women in a very poor light. I beg to differ on that point. It need not be taken as anything remotely gender specific. It just shows a funny aspect of enjoying football. It is also to be noted that ads are just turning out to be mere eye-candies in today's time. People are aware about it and they shall not let these ads affect them in their life. If they do, it could be their problem. A common man with the normal sense of wisdom shall not get affected by these silly eye-candies. However, if vodafone thinks it shall enable them to sell more of their connections, why bother too much? I am a regular reader of your review about ads but if this exercise of reviewing ads becomes monotonous, may be it is time for you to try another cup of tea. However, I appreciate your sense of observation and the language. It is just that may be you were not in the right mood when you wrote it to become too irritated.


6 years ago

You're a strange person. Very absurd points of view. Absurd is the word.

The micromax ad is sadistic? Targeting sadistic minds? Hahaha.

You are indeed jaded.

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