New Delhi: The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC)'s two-day-long public hearing on power tariff fixation began on Tuesday in the midst of steep opposition from a number of AAP MLAs and representatives of Residents' Welfare Associations here against any hike.
AAP MLAs alleged that the private discoms were "looting" the public and warned DERC against effecting any hike in the immediate future before the completion of the CAG audit, which they claimed would substantially bring down tariffs.
"The discoms are looting the public. AAP won't let any such hike to take effect. Public will hit the streets in that case. CAG report should be expedited, but that is not even being considered," said AAP's Lakshmi Nagar MLA, Nitin Tyagi.
There were heated exchanges during the hearing that was presided over by DERC chairman PD Sudhakar and members JP Singh and BP Singh at the Siri Fort auditorium here.
The hearing is part of the process to finalise the tariff following which the rates for domestic and commercial consumers will be fixed within, possibly, a fortnight.
Around 10 AAP MLAs, including Alka Lamba, Jarnail Singh, SK Bagga, Gulab Singh, Bhavna Gaur, Akhilesh Pati Tripathi, Rajesh Rishi and Naresh Yadav, spoke during the hearing.
During the course of the proceedings, MLAs like Gaur and Jarnail Singh found themselves facing public ire when they rose to speak out of turn, ahead of many waiting to present their views. The MLAs' explanation of having "official work" had no takers among the attendees.
On the other hand, United Residents of Delhi's General Secretary Saurabh Gandhi's allegation of "impropriety" against DERC member JP Singh saw the latter losing his cool and the two faced off in front of the media covering the public hearing.
"Companies are deliberately showing losses and DERC needs to put an end to their manipulation. During privatisation of the discoms, it was said that tariff would come down in a few years, but it is only rising," Jarnail Singh said.
Citing the widening revenue gap of around Rs 28,000 crore, the three private power distribution companies in Delhi -- BSES Yamuna Pvt Ltd, BSES Rajdhani Pvt Ltd and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd -- had sought an up to 20 percent hike in tariff.