Further hike in power tariff possible: Delhi CM

New Delhi: Notwithstanding last month's 22 per cent hike in power tariff, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday gave a strong indication of another increase, saying cost of power procurement has gone up significantly.

Justifying the demands by private power distribution companies to further hike the tariff, Dikshit said the rates in Delhi were much lower compared to most of the other states.

Asked specifically whether she was indicating that the tariff will go up, Dikshit said: "There could be. Yes, certainly."

After announcing the hike in tariff September, which came into effect from September 1, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had dropped strong indication that there could be a further hike early next year.

The discoms, not satisfied with the hike, have demanded further increase to sustain their operations. Earlier, they had been demanding a 60 per cent increase in tariff.

Asked about Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's comment at the National Development Council meeting that states should raise power tariff as distribution companies are facing financial difficulty, Dikshit said the statement reflected the the real situation.

"The Centre has also admitted the reality. No government would like to increase the burden on the people. But we will have to understand the situation. People will have to understand that cost of power has gone up," Dikshit said.

Addressing the NDC meeting, Mukherjee had said that "states will have to review and revise the tariffs regularly" to ensure the financial health of the distribution companies.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, echoing similar view, said some of the distribution firms have not raised tariffs for 10 years and their total losses are estimated to be Rs 70,000 crore.