Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium has said the Sheila Dikshit government does not have the authority to stop the power regulator, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), from announcing its tariff order for the year 2010-11.
The Delhi government on May 4, a day before the new power tariff was to be announced, had directed the DERC not to issue the tariff order until the government gave a go-ahead.
'The direction contained not to pass tariff order unless a go ahead has been given by the state government amounts to placing a fetter on a quasi-judicial function. Such a direction is… void,' Subramanium said in a letter to DERC, which had requested his opinion.
So if all goes well, consumers in Delhi could get a new power tariff soon as the DERC is planning to issue the tariff order within a month.
Now the Delhi government is saying it never meddled in the tariff order process.
'It is a wrong notion that we had stalled the tariff order. We had merely asked the DERC to hear out the discoms,' Delhi Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta told Hindustan Times.
'I don't think there was any need to approach the Solicitor General on this.'
Power officials said the DERC could now go ahead with issuing the tariff order within a fortnight.
Apart from this, the Solicitor General has also said that the electricity regulatory commission was not bound by the Delhi government’s orders on power tariff.
The DERC has been ready with the tariff order for over a month now.
There were indications that the tariff for industrial consumers was about to be slashed significantly and be lowered marginally for domestic consumers.
The tariff calculations are based on the discoms’ accounts, which showed that the three power distribution companies were awash with a revenue surplus. The discoms, however, claimed that they had a severe cash crunch, which was preventing them from buying more power.