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Congress, BJP trade charges on power tariff issue

PTI | Last Updated: Saturday, October 12, 2013 - 23:49

New Delhi: The slugfest between Congress and BJP over power tariff continued today with the two accusing each other of "misleading" people on the issue to grab power in the national capital.

At a press conference, Power Minister Harun Yusuf strongly rejected Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel`s claim of 300 per cent hike in power tariff in the last three years and said the increase was in the range 50 to 100 per cent. He claimed that the electricity rates in Delhi are much lower compared to other states.

Justifying the hike in power tariff, Yusuf said the power purchase cost has increased manifold in the last few years resulting in hike in tariff.

"The cost of procuring electricity has increased from Rs 1.50 per unit in 2002 to Rs 6.80 in 2012-13. Goel should also refer to the increase in usage and peak demand that his government 15 years ago could never manage," Yusuf said at the press conference along with Revenue Minister Arvinder Singh and PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chouhan.

The BJP, which has already announced that it will cut tariff by 30 per cent if it came to power in the polls, dismissed the argument.

"The ministers` excuse that the power purchase cost is very high and hence cheaper electricity cannot be provided to people in Delhi is misleading. The power purchase cost is high for Delhi because of the collusion between the Congress government and the power discoms," Goel alleged in a statement, adding his party will reduce power tariff by 30 per cent by removing the malpractices in power purchase and distribution.

The power tariff in the city was hiked by 22 per cent in 2011 followed by a 5 per cent increase in February last year. The tariff was hiked by up to 2 per cent in May last year and again by 26 per cent for domestic consumers in July 2012.

The tariff was hiked again by up to 3 per cent in February of this year and again by 5 per cent in July. Following the 5 per cent hike in tariff by Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), Delhi government had announced a subsidy for those limiting their monthly consumption to 400 units.

"If peak demand has gone up by three times, it is natural that meter readings will on an average increased by three times," said Yusuf.
Claiming that power tariff in BJP-ruled states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh was higher than in Delhi, Yusuf also asked Goel to give his formula of cutting the tariff by 30 per cent to the two party-ruled states.
"If a consumer consumes 184 units in two months in Ahmedabad, the bill will be Rs 1,010 while it will be Rs 830 in Delhi. Similarly if a consumer consumes 71 unit in a month in Bhopal, the bill will be Rs 425 against Rs 280 in Delhi," he said.

First Published: Saturday, October 12, 2013 - 23:49
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