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Didn't suggest hike in power tariff: DERC

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) said it has not taken any decision to hike power tariff in the city. Harish V Nair reports.

delhi Updated: Dec 22, 2010 23:17 IST
Harish V Nair

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) said it has not taken any decision to hike power tariff in the city.

The power regulatory body told the Delhi high court on Wednesday that it had not sent an advise to the government recommending a 30% increase in power rates.

The denial came after the court sought an explanation following a report in a section of media and expressed anger stating how could it be done when the matter was sub judice.

Additional solicitor general Parag Tripathi, who appeared for the DERC, told the court, "The exercise is on. No figures have been arrived at nor any implementation structure decided upon. As and when it is fixed, it will be submitted to the court and will not be given effect without the court's permission."

A bench of chief justice Dipak Misra and justice Manmohan hearing a PIL on delay in announcement of "reduced rates" earlier made it clear to the DERC that it was not staying any exercise for deciding the tariff but rates shall not be implemented without its approval.

The issue came to light when senior lawyer Jayant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, brought to the attention the news report stating that the power regulatory body had recommended a 30% hike in power rates in Delhi and that the government had accepted it.

An angry bench said, "(The) DERC should not have proceeded when the matter was sub judice. We have been asking it since two months to produce original files needed for decision-making and they haven't."

"If DERC played dirty then let us see how things can be cleaned. The conduct of the members has all along been unacceptable. We are not insisting on their personal appearance only because they are members of a quasi-judicial body."

The PIL accused the government of succumbing to pressure from private discoms and "prohibiting release of new tariff" approved by the DERC, which it claimed, would have been "lesser than the present rate".

It said the DERC told the government the discoms were sitting on a combined cash profit of over Rs 300 crore per month and it was time to reduce power rates.

The government denied the allegations saying no decision was taken so far due to serious differences between the chairman and members of the DERC.

"What has been recommended was just the opinion of the chairman without mandatory backing of members," it said. Apparently one of the members had changed his opinion later.

The high court is deciding whether the state government has the power to dictate terms to the DERC and influence its decision-making and also if decision by two of the three members constitute a majority decision.

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