Delhi govt, power discoms cheating people: Arvind Kejriwal

Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal exposed the alleged nexus between Sheila Dikshit-led Delhi government and private power distribution companies.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: After taking on political leaders and corporate big-wigs, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal on Friday exposed the alleged nexus between Sheila Dikshit-led Delhi government and private power distribution companies.

Targeting the Sheila Dikshit Government, Kejriwal alleged that power distribution companies in the capital "fudged" their records and "committed fraud" to show losses in their revenue while actually making profits.

The Aam Aadmi Party leader accused Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit of conniving with power distribution companies and not allowing lowering of tariff.

Citing an April 2010 draft order by former Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) chairman Brijender Singh, Kejriwal said his assessment found that power distribution companies would make a profit of Rs 3,577 crore and henceforth tariff should be reduced by 23 percent.

The order, copies of which were circulated among the media, read: "The reduction in tariff is likely to be sustained in the future years as well, since the energy availability from new power plants is going to increase substantially."

It also said that reduction in tariff was appropriate not only for financial year 2010-11 but was most likely to continue.

Kejriwal also claimed that Delhiites are paying two times the electricity bills they should actually be paying.

"The then DERC chief Brijender Singh was to pass an order on May 05, 2010 but the Delhi Government wrote a letter to Brijender Singh on May 04 under pressure from discoms and stopped him from issuing the order," he told a press conference here.

Reacting to the allegations, Dikshit`s office termed them as "bunch of lies". "The allegations are a bundle of lies," her office said.

Power Minister Harun Yusuf said Kejriwal was trying to "sensationalise the issue as he did not say anything new".

"The allegations are totally baseless. The tariff order he was referring to was not signed by all the three members of the DERC. So you cannot call it a tariff order. Even Delhi High court had held that it was not a DERC order," Yusuf told a news agency.

Circulating copies of the letter written by Joint Secretary (Power) SM Ali on May 04 to Singh, Kejriwal said the order had concluded that discoms were making "huge profits" and that the power tariffs in the capital should be reduced by 23 percent rather than increased.

"The power companies had projected Rs 630 crores of losses for the year 2010-11 and they wanted electricity tariffs to be increased to recover that. However, Singh had concluded that they would make profits of Rs 3,577 crores which if passed on to the consumers would result in 23 per cent reduction," Kejriwal alleged.

"Why did Dikshit issue such an order? Only she can answer the question," Kejriwal said, adding that she brought an official perceived to be close to her who "turned a blind eye to all the fraud committed by the discoms owned by Tatas and Ambanis".

Claiming that DERC itself had held that the discoms had fudged records, he alleged that BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani owned by Anil Ambani group were showing zero bills for a number of consumers including the Delhi Airport and the Delhi Jal Board.

"These were done to show losses. Can anyone believe that Delhi Jal Board does not consume power at all? This was done to show losses," he alleged.

The AAP convenor demanded that FIRs for alleged cheating be registered against the discoms.

"Brijender Singh`s tariff order should be implemented and the excess money charged from consumers in the last 3 years should be refunded to them," he demanded.

He also accused present DERC chairman PD Sudhakar of acting as an "agent" of power distribution companies.

However, Sudhakar refuted the allegations.

"This is baseless and the alleged profits made by power companies were projected profits," he told a news agency.

Kejriwal also demanded that the Chief Minister immediately give her nod for performance and financial audit of discoms by the CAG and sack the current chairman of DERC.

He also claimed that the BJP did not raise these issues despite having proof by not doing justice to its role as Opposition party.

Yusuf said the DERC headed by Berjinder Singh had made calculations on assumptions that power would be available from newly built power plants at low rates. But actually those plants could not generate power as per expectation due to various reasons.

"In last 10 years, there has been 83 percent hike in power tariff against 137 percent increase in power purchase cost. We always tried to be very transparent," said Yusuf.

Yusuf said the Delhi Government did not have any problem with CAG audit of accounts of the distribution companies.

"We have filed an affidavit in the Delhi High Court favouring CAG audit of discoms` account. The court is yet to come out with its order on the issue," he said.

(With PTI/IANS inputs)