Discoms slam DERC`s rigid attitude against tariff hike
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Last Updated: Friday, May 07, 2010, 00:53
New Delhi: In a virtual showdown in their ongoing turf war with statutory power regulator DERC, private discoms today accused the authority of taking a "myopic approach" towards their demand for a tariff hike and said the rigid attitude may lead to a "serious situation".

All the three discoms, bolstered by government's sympathetic approach towards their demand, held a joint press conference defying DERC gag order not to speak to media, where they forcefully justified their demand for a tariff hike.

"We are having a major problem of cash flow. If our concerns are not addressed, then the consequences could be very serious," said Sunil Wadhwa, CEO of Tata-backed discom NDPL.

BSES officials said the total combined deficit of three discoms stood at Rs 2,600 crore and rejected the claim that they were having a healthy surplus.

Taking a sympathetic approach towards demand of a hike in tariff, the government, using a special provision in the Delhi Electricity Act, on Tuesday had directed DERC not to announce the annual tariff order for the year 2010-11 till it reexamines petitions from discoms.

"The issues raised by the discoms are very serious and need to be examined thoroughly so that the sustainable model of tariff as prescribed under section 61 and 62 of the Act.

The DERC, which was making last minute preparations to announce the new tariff order, after receiving the directive had indicated that it was planning to cut down the tariff by 20 to 25 per cent as discoms would have a surplus of around Rs 4,000 crore if the existing tariff was not tinkered with.

Seeking a "cost reflective tariff structure", Wadhwa said all three discoms had bought power at a very high rate during last summer following a communication from DERC in which it was stated that money would not be an issue and the companies should procure power from the open market so that people do not face any power cuts.

"It is totally not correct that we have a healthy surplus. Our total revenue shortfall for the year 2009-10 is Rs 680 crore...The banks have started refusing us any lending," he said.

Holding that the problem of cash flow in all the discoms was serious, Wadhwa said NDPL would seek a loan of Rs 700 crore from the city government as banks have refused to give loan to the company.

Asked DERC's argument that discoms would no longer require to buy power from open market once upcoming power plants in Delhi starts generating power, the discoms said they were not sure when the plants in Bawana, Jhajhar and Dadri will start generation.

"In that case, the tariff structure could be reviewed quarterly. They can review it once the power plants starts functioning," Wadhwa said.


First Published: Friday, May 07, 2010, 00:53

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