Delhi govt not to hike power tariff for time being

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - 23:27

New Delhi: In a unusual move to ease the
burden on consumers, the Delhi government today asked the
city`s power regulator DERC not to hike electricity tariff
till it examines demands from discoms to increase the rates.

The Chief Minister`s office said the government has
asked the DERC not to announce the new tariff order for the
financial year 2010-11 for "time being" and keep the rates for
various categories at the same level as that of last year.

"The government has written to DERC to communicate to
the discoms that tariff of various categories would stay at
the same level as that of last year," it said in a statement.

DERC (Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission) is an
independent statutory authority and the city government never
in the past issued such directive to it although it has power
to do so under section 108 of the Delhi Electricity Act.

There was speculation that power tariff may increase
in the city and even Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had given
an indication to this when she said people have money to pay
more for power.

The discoms have been pressing for a substantial hike
in power tariff for the financial year 2010-11 arguing that
that cost of buying power from the open market has increased
manifold.

"The government felt that the issues raised by discoms
are serious and has accordingly directed DERC to examine these
issues and to submit its statutory advice on these issues to
the Government," the statement said.

Officials in the DERC said they will send a letter to
the government explaining the actual revenue position of the
discoms as it has already scrutinised the financial position
of all the discoms.

"After scrutiny of the financial position, we have
found that the discoms have a total of Rs 1,200 crore surplus
money in 2009-10. There was no question of any hike in tariff.
We were actually planning to pass on the benefit to the
consumers," said a source in the DERC.

The government said "it felt that to protect the
interests of the consumers it would be prudent to direct the
DERC not to announce their new tariff structure till the time
Government is able to prudently examine the issues raised by
the discoms."

The discoms had submitted representations to the
government requesting for a hike in tariff arguing that their
"revenue gaps have accumulated beyond sustainable levels."

When asked, a spokesperson of the Tata-backed discom
NDPL said the demand for hike in tariff is justified but left
it to DERC to take a final call on the issue.

-PTI



First Published: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - 23:27

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