At a time when speculation is rife about an imminent increase in power tariff thanks to the electricity distribution companies (discoms) asking for a 38 to 78 per cent hike from the regulator, a fresh burden of Rs 210 crore has fallen on the consumers.
If Delhiites are to foot the bill then they will have to shell out around 40 paise more per unit of electricity they consume. And that will be over and above any hike already sought by discoms.
To cut through a lot of legalese, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) a few years ago had reduced Rs 210 crore from the Delhi Transco’s revenue requirement figurers saying that a DVB-era arrears of that amount from 2002 to 2004, was actually revenue of Delhi Transco. After appeal from Transco, the tribunal has dismissed this stand saying the money, as per prevailing arrangements, actually went to a holding company called Delhi Power Company Limited and cannot be treated as revenue of Transco.
Simply put, the tribunal’s order has thus created a fresh gap of Rs 210 crore the stakeholders of the power sector have to fill and the burden in the end appears to be falling on the consumers since it widens the already huge revenue shortfall of the three discoms.
“Last year, to prevent an increase of 10 per cent in the rate of power, Delhi government had given a subsidy of Rs 180 crore. Now Rs 210 crore, when passed on to the consumers, will result in about a 30 paise increase in the power tariff across the three slabs,” said a senior power department official.
So far there is not indication from the government considering playing the saviour once again and footing the bill like last year.
The amount, Rs 210 crore, could be divided between three discoms—BSES Yamuna, BSES Rajdhani and North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL)—proportionately.
Moreover, miffed residents feel this judgment of the ATE sets a bad precedence. “If it is allowed then DVB arrears of other years, too, would have to be borne by the consumers. So every year there will be at least some hike in tariff,” said S.P Oberoi, of Janakpuri RWA.
When contacted, a Dellhi Transco official said, “We have not taken any decision as to how to treat the amount. To say that it would be transferred to consumers would be premature. Various factors would have to be considered before that.”