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Pay more for your power bill

Coming year will bring an extra burden to millions of electricity consumers in Delhi. Even before it decides on a new power tariff, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission will ask the consumers to pay a variable fuel surcharge

delhi Updated: Dec 08, 2010 00:28 IST
Avishek G Dastidar

Coming year will bring an extra burden to millions of electricity consumers in Delhi. Even before it decides on a new power tariff, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission will ask the consumers to pay a variable fuel surcharge.

This is a surcharge that the power companies will levy every four months.

The DERC has admitted petitions from the three discoms — North Delhi Power Limited, BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna — and is trying to notify the change by December 26, so that the system is in place by January.

Sources at the DERC — which is yet to get a chief following the retirement of chairman Berjinder Singh and is also looking for a full-time secretary — said the existing commssion members are in favour of this surcharge rollout.

“The discoms have been demanding this for a very long time. In this system, the discoms need to submit their quarterly audited accounts, which will be rechecked by the commission and then the quantum of the surcharge will be approved,” said a senior official, who did not wish to be named.

There will be a separate column in a new format of the electricity bill, which will reflect the surcharge over and above the power consumption bill.

Depending on the rising prices of coal, gas or crude oil, the quantum of the hike passed on to the consumers could be more than 25% of the tariff.

The surcharge component will enable the discoms to recover the extra money they pay to power generators whenever the cost of gas or coal increases. Power generators, such as the National Thermal Power Corporation, charge this monthly, over and above the per-unit cost of electricity they sell, if the input cost of coal or gas goes up.

Around 17 states including Maharashtra have already adopted various forms of this mechanism. Discoms do recover the money in their annual revenue petition in bulk, but they say the delayed recovery puts the burden on the tariff.