I have known Mr Palaniappan and Mr Suresh Gehani since 2003. They were then with ICRA Advisory Services, and thereafter established ABPS Infra. I had joined the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) as Secretary (till 2005), shortly before the new Electricity Act, 2003 came into force.

MERC was a fledgling organization then, but had already established an enviable reputation among power sector regulators in the country in spite of limited resources and a skeleton staff. Mr Palaniappan, Mr Gehani and their erstwhile colleagues were assisting MERC, particularly on tariff matters, and I was required to interact closely with them. Their professionalism, diligence and competence had earned them the Commission’s trust.

When I returned to the Commission in 2014 in a more substantive role as Member, I again had the opportunity to work closely with them till 2018, and on a wider range of issues.

As much as their formal role as consultants, the Commission and I often engaged more informally with Mr Palaniappan, Mr Gehani and their colleagues to validate new ideas and different perceptions. This relationship also drew strength from the fact that they expressed their views and analysis freely and frankly in spite of often contrary views. For me, they were often a touchstone for some of my own ideas and analysis. Working with them has been a very positive and pleasant experience, and they have been an asset to MERC.

Former Member, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, and Former Principal Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, ex-IAS

Azeez Mehdi Khan
Former Member, MERC, and Former Principal Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, ex-IAS