Delhi discoms hike power tariff, millions likely to be affected

People in the national capital will have to shell out more money for electricity consumed from tomorrow as the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission on Friday hiked the power tariff by up to eight per cent amid a tug of war between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and power companies.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: People in the national capital will have to shell out more money for electricity consumed from tomorrow as the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission on Friday hiked the power tariff by up to eight per cent amid a tug of war between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and power companies.

According to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), the BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) increased its tariff eight percent, BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) by six percent and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) by seven percent.

The DERC said the decision was taken following the assessment of the private distribution companies` (discom) quarterly revenue of surcharge.

More than a million homes in many parts here are likely to face upto 10 hours of outages daily from tomorrow.

Meanwhile, condemning the power tariff hike, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said the power companies should have waited for the CAG audit reports of the firms.
Before coming to power, AAP had promised that it will slash the rates of power for Delhiites but did so only in selected slabs, prompting BJP to term it as an "eyewash".

DERC chairman PD Sudhakar told PTI that the fuel cost adjustment has resulted in hike in surcharge. We have decided to effect the hike to adjust the power purchase cost of the distribution companies," Sudhakar said. DERC will review the hike in the form of fuel surcharge after three months.

He said power distribution companies are facing financial difficulties and ways must be explored to help them.

The hike will be on energy charges as well as fixed charges but will not be applicable on the additional eight per cent surcharge which was levied to help the past dues.

A government spokesperson said the "Delhi Government strongly condemns the decision to hike the tariff. When audit by CAG has already been ordered, such a hike is uncalled for."

He said the DERC should have waited for the outcome of CAG audit before putting burden on the people at a time when lot of questions are being raised on the functioning of these power distribution companies.
The DERC had introduced fuel surcharge in 2012 to help the private power distribution companies adjust their power purchase cost.

While hiking the tariff in July last year, the DERC had subsumed the surcharge.
The tariff hike by the DERC came on a day when Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused the discoms of trying to "blackmail" the government by threatening power cuts up to 10 hours a day.

He even warned them of strict action including possible cancellation of licenses for using various tactics to put pressure on government to to get financial assistance.

BYPL has informed Delhi Government that areas under its jurisdiction may face eight to 10 hours of power cuts from Saturday as the company was facing serious fund crunch to buy electricity.

The announcement of the power tariff hike climaxed
bickerings between the Kejriwal government and power distribution companies like BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, BSES Yamuna Power Ltd and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd in recent days over demands for hike in power rates.

The discoms have threatened that there would be powercuts up to 10 hours in East and Central Delhi if the government fails to do so.

Claiming that it was short of funds, the BYPL had also sought an extension of today`s deadline for the payment of approx Rs 180 crore to NTPC which the PSU has indicated it may do.

Another area of confrontation between Kejriwal government and the power companies was former`s decision to order a CAG audit of their accounts which the companies opposed.

Earlier in the day, state-run NTPC had threatened to snap power supply to BYPL despite a request by the Delhi Government not to do so.

The hike by the DERC was announced after it had a meeting with top officials of the three private power companies.

Sudhakar said the Delhi Government has requested lending agencies Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification Corporation to extend financial help to the discoms.

As BYPL informed the government about imminent power cuts of 8-10 hours, Kejriwal accused BSES discoms of trying to "blackmail" the government and even warned them of strict action including possible cancellation of licenses.

"There are no reasons for power cuts. I want to give them a warning that if they try to create panic in future, the government will take strict action against them," Kejriwal said.

Dismissing any valid reasons for such extreme steps, the Chief Minister said there were so many question marks over the discoms account.

"They are not cooperating in CAG audit, which raises further suspicion. The government will not keep quite. The government will not hesitate in cancelling their licences," he said while assuring the people that there was no possibility of power cuts.

"Power companies are indulging in wrong doings to create panic they are trying to blackmail us," he said.

After today`s decision, domestic consumers consuming up to 200 units in BYPL will be charged Rs 2.1 per unit against current 1.95 per unit.

For units above 201 and up to 400, the charges for BYPL consumers will be Rs 3.13 as against current 2.90 per unit. For consumption between 400 and 800, the rate will be Rs 7.34 per unit instead of current Rs 6.8 per unit.

The per unit rate will be Rs 7.56 for consumption above 800 units.

In BRPL areas, per unit charge for consumption up to 200 units will Rs 2.6 per unit while for units above 201 and up to 400, the charges will be Rs 3.07 as against current 2.90 per unit. For consumption between 400 and 800, the rate will be Rs 7.2 per unit. The per unit rate will be Rs 7.42 for consumption above 800 units.

For TPDDL consumers, per unit charge for consumption up to 200 units will be Rs 2.08 per unit while for units above 201 and up to 400, the charges will be Rs 3.1. For consumption between 400 and 800, the rate will be Rs 7.27 per unit and it will be Rs 7.49 for consumption above 800 units.

DERC officials said apart from energy charges, the eight per cent hike will be applicable for fixed charges also.

With PTI inputs