The competition watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) has pulled up Delhi's power distributors -- BSES and NDPL -- for using their dominant position by not allowing customers to install meters of their choice, a charge refuted by the Anil Ambani group firm.
The power distribution companies (discoms) -- Reliance ADA Group's BSES Rajdhani Power and BSES Yamuna Power, and Tata Power-Delhi government joint venture North Delhi Power (NDPL)-- have also been charged with meter tampering.
The CCI has issued show-cause notices to these discoms after examining a report of the director general (investigations) that found evidences against the discoms for misusing their dominant position and entering into anti-competitive agreements, sources told PTI.
"More than 90 per cent of the people using meters of the these companies have found variations in the readings. People cannot shift their electricity connections as they have no choice. The distribution companies are misusing their dominant positions," sources said quoting the CII report.
BSES refuted both the charges of limiting choice of customers as well as meter tampering, while NDPL refused to comment saying it is going through the order.
"The allegations regarding not allowing consumers the option to install their own meters is not correct as the same is also provided under law. "BSES, in compliance of the same, has publicised this on its website; distributed lakhs of pamphlets; issued ads in newspapers and also inserted this option in the application forms for availing of new connection," a BSES spokesperson said in an email response.
The CCI had investigated the alleged meter tampering by the discoms on a complaint from a customer last December. The companies are alleged to have violated sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act.
In Delhi, over 2.3 million users receive power supply from BSES,while NDPL supplies power to about 1 million users.
As regards allegations of meters running fast, BSES said that meters bought and installed by BSES are in compliance with relevant applicable BIS standards and guidelines of the Central Electricity Authority.
The CCI has the power to penalise the discoms, if proved guilty. It can also direct the discoms to let customers buy their own meters, sources said, adding any decision would be taken after getting responses from the discoms.
The on their part can appeal before the Competition Appellate Tribunal if they are not unhappy with the final order of the CCI.