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Residents invited to understand tariff

If you never quite understood how the tariff for electricity in Delhi was determined amid complex technical mumbo-jumbo, here's your chance to get tuition from the very people who fix the tariff every year. Avishek G Dastidar reports.

delhi Updated: Apr 15, 2011 01:46 IST
Avishek G Dastidar

If you never quite understood how the tariff for electricity in Delhi was determined amid complex technical mumbo-jumbo, here's your chance to get tuition from the very people who fix the tariff every year.

Under a new chairman, the city's power regulator has decided to hold around 30 meetings with residents' welfare associations and other civil society groups in the coming few weeks to demystify the numerical process of arriving at those magic figures, which are the prices Delhiites pay for power they use.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/15_04_11_pg2a.jpg

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission has roped in the city government's NGO partners in Bhagidari schemes for a fee to organise the meetings. The mandate is to cover the entire city.

Power tariff became a controversial issue in the Capital over the past one year with constant news reports of claims and counter claims from various sources about the need to increase or decrease the tariff. A case is also on at the Delhi high court regarding this.

"The electricity regulatory commission has prepared a series of adverts explaining how power tariff is structured, what are the variable costs, why it goes up, how it impacts the sector, and so on," said a senior official on the condition of anonymity.

"Officials will be present at these meetings and, with the help of charts and diagrams, explain the whole process in layman's language to those present there," the official added.

In the absence of any understanding of the sector, general public generally avoid the so-called public hearings held to discuss objections on the revenue requirements of discoms every year.

Hearings usually see the same motley group of NGO activists and a few residents every year.

The DERC is now preparing for a public hearing on extending for a year the previous four-year multi-year tariff order that lapsed on March 31. After that, fresh revenue requirements would be sought from all power discoms in the city followed by another public hearing for a new tariff order.

Sources said if all went well, a new tariff order might be in place by July. Power minister Haroon Yousuf said the DERC's initiative would help all the stakeholders in the sector.

"People need to understand why power purchase costs go up depending on coal and crude process and why sometimes discoms have to pay even seven rupees per unit to buy power even though the consumer pays a fixed price," he said.

"Our job becomes smoother if consumers are more knowledgeable on these matters," the minister added.