The Delhi government is planning to use parking lots as charging points for e-rickshaws in the Capital.
The proposal comes at a time when the government, along with the power distribution companies, are faced with rampant power theft by e-rickshaws and the safety hazard that the process of charging them involves. According to the plan, parking lots of Delhi Metro and municipal corporations are being considered where discoms will set up charging stations for the battery-operated three-wheelers.
As of now, there isn’t a single authorised charging station for over one lakh e-rickshaws plying in the city. While discoms are currently allowing consumers to charge their e-rickshaws through energy meters installed in their houses, the government said now gangs have emerged who are getting these vehicles charged in bulk. With their numbers on the rise, accidents too are increasing. In October, three people were electrocuted while illegally charging their rickshaws.
“Parking lots of MCDs and Metro are being considered for the charging points. The process of e-rickshaws would be allowed during the night when the off-peak hour tariffs would be applicable. The slot for them would be from 3 am to 9 am,” a government official said.
There are around 350 parking lots under the three MCDs, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the Delhi metro. The facilities that would have charging points and the electricity rates to be charged would be decided after consultations with e-rickshaw unions. The NDMC already has a proposal pending which it plans to implement under its Smart City project.
Non-peak tariffs are about 20% less than the normal tariffs which, the government believes, would encourage drivers to stop charging at their homes or through the gangs. A meeting to discuss the matter was held recently and was attended by officials from power and transport departments, DIMTS and discoms were also present.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) is also working on fixing special tariffs for e-rickshaws. However, the process is likely to take a few months as a fresh regulation will have to be notified. “So far, Delhi does not have any tariffs for battery operated vehicles like e-rickshaws. The commission is currently preparing the draft regulations,” a DERC official said.
Records with the transport department suggest that only 19,548 e-rickshaws have been registered till October 13, which means more than 80% of the e-rickshaws plying in the city do not have certificates of road worthiness from the Battery Rickshaw Sangh (BRS), the body authorised by the Delhi government to issue the same.