Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi govt says it is ready to take over power distribution

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday attacked industrialist Anil Ambani and accused him of playing politics over power tariff issue in the national capital.

PTI| Last Updated: Feb 04, 2014, 22:48 PM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi government on Tuesday expressed its readiness to take over power distribution in the city to control the "ugly situation" even as Anil Ambani Group discoms attacked it for recommending to power regulator DERC to revoke their licenses, terming the move as "arbitrary" and "illegal".

In a letter to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal justified his government`s decision to recommend to DERC to revoke licenses of two BSES discoms if they fail to pay dues to power generator NTPC and resort to long outages in large parts of the city.
"I am bringing this most serious matter to your notice as the government itself may have to step in at some stage to control the ugly situation which may be created by the three private discoms," Kejriwal said in the letter to Jung.

Amid the confrontation, the Chief Minister attacked Anil Ambani, chairman of ADAG which operates BSES Yamuna Power Lts and BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd. These two discoms supply power in 70 percent areas in Delhi.
"Anil Ambani playing politics wid delhi`s electricity? Whose politics is he doing?," Kejriwal said in the tweet.

A Reliance Infrastructure spokesperson reacted to Kejriwal`s comment, saying "Reliance Group is extremely disappointed with the Delhi Chief Minister`s tweet attacking our group chairman."

Earlier, two BSES discoms slammed Delhi government`s move to recommend to DERC to revoke their licenses, saying the proposal was "arbitrary" and "illegal" and will be a huge setback to power sector reforms.

The two discoms, BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd, said they were "deeply concerned" over the move and "extremely surprised" that such a measure was not raised in the board meeting of the discoms last week. Delhi government has 49 per cent stake in each of the discoms.

The discoms said they expected the regulator to proceed independently and in accordance with laws in dealing with the issue.

Delhi government had yesterday recommended to Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission to revoke the license of BSES discoms if they they fail to pay dues to NTPC and resort to long outages.

"As legally advised, the proposed cancellation of licenses in this situation is arbitrary and illegal and will only serve to demotivate thousands of our employees who have timelessly worked to transform the power supply situation in Delhi," the BSES discoms said in a statement.

NTPC had on Saturday served notices of power supply suspension to BSES discoms and said electricity supplies will be snapped if they do not clear their dues by February 10.

BSES discoms said they did not have money to buy power and the city may reel under long outages if funds are not provided to them.

DERC chairman P D Sudhakar said the Commission held a meeting with senior officials of the three discoms to find a solution to the "difficult situation".

"We are faced with a complex situation. But I am hopeful of a solution soon," Sudhakar told a news agency. He said DERC may help the discoms in arranging funds.

The BSES discoms said the current payment crisis was a result of DERC refusing to allow recovery of their past arrears.

In its letter to DERC, the government had termed the issue as a "most serious matter" and requested the regulator to find out from the two discoms in the next two or three days as to whether they are going to stop power supply to consumers of Delhi beyond February 10.
"In case, these discoms continue with their stand, DERC may not have an alternative but to suspend their licenses immediately as a first step under para 13 of the terms and conditions of their distribution licences," the government had said.