In what may limit consumers’ choice, Haryana power utility Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN), the state-run power distribution company for south Haryana, has opposed “tooth and nail” the entry of private players in electricity supply in Gurgaon.
The state-run power corporation, which holds the exclusive rights to supply electricity in Gurgaon and eight other districts of Haryana, has raised objections to the application of West Bengal-based India Power Corporation Limited (IPCL) for grant of licence for retail distribution of electricity to consumers of all categories in the Millennium City, stating that there was “no room for setting up a parallel distribution network in Gurgaon and a second licencee (electricity supplier) would only burden the existing network”.
The DHBVN has been consistently opposing the entry of private players in retail electricity supply in the state. Before IPCL, realty firm DLF Estate Developers Limited and Essar Group had also submitted their applications for licence to set up own networks for supplying electricity to consumers. However, the state power corporations, including DHBVN and Haryana Power Generation Corporation Limited, had opposed their entry also. While there has been a change in government (BJP replaced the Congress) in the state last month, the power utility has maintained its position.
IPCL, in its licence application, has proposed to set up its own parallel distribution lines and related infrastructure, the first private electricity distribution in the state, in the Gurgaon municipal corporation area with an investment of `1,633 crore in first five years.
The service area spread over 200 square km has a population of roughly 11 lakh with 2.30 lakh connections of various categories.
Currently, it has the distribution license in Asansol-Raniganj belt spread over 618 square km in West Bengal and Gaya in Bihar.
The company’s application for distribution licence came up for hearing before the two-member Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) on Monday. “The commission has heard the applicant and objections of interveners. It will decide the application for grant electricity distribution licence in coming weeks,” an official said.
The DHBVN, which has monopoly business, opposed the parallel network proposed by the private company, citing the “already exhausted area of the Gurgaon municipal corporation, which is crowded with transmission and distribution cables, communication cables, fiber optics etc”.
The corporation has also objected to “cherry picking” (choosing only the profitable areas), stating that IPCL is cherry picking the consumers within the same municipal area which is completely contrary to the national electricity policy and against the objective and spirit of the Electricity Act, 2003.
“In the event, the private firm is granted the distribution licence and if at all migration of consumers takes place, the subsidised categories shall have to face the brunt of possible increase in tariff,” the discom warned. Besides, issues related to capital adequacy, phase-wise rollout and projected supply were raised.
Earlier, DLF had in 2006 applied for licence to supply electricity in a posh locality – DLF City Phase 1 to 5 — developed by it in Gurgaon. The commission had disallowed the application.
Two years ago, Essar had also withdrawn its licence application before the hearing following objections.