Delhiites who suffer unscheduled power cuts that last over two hours will be compensated with a discount on their electricity bills, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said Saturday, promising to hold distribution companies accountable for frequent outages.
He has called the city’s three discoms — BSES Rajdhani, BSES Yamuna and Tata Power — for a meeting on Tuesday as complaints of outages poured in from across the Capital, which is in the grip of a severe heat wave.
No details were given on how the compensation amount would be fixed.
“We have directed the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) that if any area has unscheduled power cuts and it is not rectified in two hours, then the people of that area have to be compensated. This policy will be implemented soon so that their (discoms’) accountability is fixed,” Kejriwal said.
A source said the regulator has taken the matter up with the discoms, who have demanded better infrastructure before such a compensation is brought in.
The city’s power demand has been soaring along with the temperature, touching an all-time high of 6,188MW on Friday. On Saturday afternoon, it came down to 5,833MW but power cuts continued.
A power department official blamed the outages on the harsh summer and high demand, saying the network has not had time to “cool down”. “This can stress the electricity network and, at times, increase local faults.”
But the government claimed there is no shortage of power in the city. “There is a provision for more (power) if the need arises. It seems the discoms did not perform routine maintenance... Otherwise, what explains these local faults?” power minister Satyender Jain said.
“The government has given a direction under section 108 of the electricity Act that discoms should pay consumers for unscheduled outages beyond a certain limit. The notification will be out soon,” he said.
“We are keeping an eye on each and every fault. Why did we privatise power 15 years ago? For improvement, not tariff hikes. Discoms have to be held accountable. They keep blaming local faults. BSES areas have been experiencing more power cuts while TPDDL (Tata Power) areas have faced fewer snags,” Kejriwal said.