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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Sheila Dikshit: The discoms just don’t want to spend

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 31, 2013
First Published: 23:23 IST(31/5/2013) | Last Updated: 00:13 IST(1/6/2013)

In a two-part series over the past two days, HT had reported on the poor electricity infrastructure and how consumers were being subjected to outages despite surplus power. In an interview with Neelam Pandey, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit emphasised that the power discoms need to spend more on infrastructure and assured that subsidy on solar panels will be restored. 

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Despite being power surplus, why is Delhi reeling under power cuts?

Nearly three months ago, we had asked all discoms to submit a summer plan to ensure Delhiites get uninterrupted power supply. They had submitted a plan and assured us that power cuts will not occur, not even for a minute. But the discoms, especially the BSES, have not been able to keep their promise. We had ensured that surplus power was available to Delhi so that power cuts don’t take place. But the discoms have not been able to manage it. I am even disappointed with the Delhi Transco as even they have not been able to perform.

Why are power discoms not improving the infrastructure? Even maintenance is an area of concern. What is the government doing to fix that?

I have received complaints regarding power cuts and have acted upon them immediately. This time, most of the complaints have come from the areas under the jurisdiction of BSES. We have raised the issue with the company. Infrastructure maintenance is a huge area of concern. The discoms are just not spending on creating new infrastructure or maintaining the existing one. They just don’t want to spend.

What steps have been taken to ensure their’ accountability?

I have asked the power minister to conduct review meetings and fix the problem immediately. The situation is quite alarming.

Power tariffs have been increasing and though residents want to opt for solar energy, they find it expensive. Even the environment department’s subsidy has been discontinued. 

We can’t discontinue solar subsidy as it encourages people to use alternative energy. If the environment department has discontinued it, I have no information about it. I will direct them to restore it immediately.

Some colonies the city such as those in Dwarka More are facing 10-hour outages. Discoms have termed them as planned shutdown for maintenance work. Couldn’t they have planned it well?

Even if they required a planned shutdown, why did they do it when it was so hot? Discoms should coordinate with Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) before taking up such work.

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