Unhappy with the new targets of lowering power theft set by the power regulator, discoms have sought a review. Else, they want the regulator to approve more capital expenditure for technical upgrade and special enforcement forces to help them meet the targets.
The companies will now have to go a long way to get special financial incentives.
In a letter to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) sent last week, the discoms contended that they had already over-achieved their Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses, beating the target by around 2%.
But the new target set by the DERC is 1% lower than the over-achieved levels. This, the discoms say, is downright unfair.
"What appears to have irked the companies is that according to the new rules to avail the financial incentives of over-achieving the targets, they need to bring the loss levels at least 1% below the new target," said a senior DERC official.
For example, if the loss target of a discom earlier was 10% and its overachieved level 8%, the new target is 7% and the target for achieving incentives is 6%. Which means, to avail of the monetary incentives, the discoms have to work much harder.
In its order, the DERC reasoned that progressive reduction in AT&C losses was necessary to reduce power purchase costs and give indirect relief to consumers in tariff.
The district-wise breakup of AT&C losses of the discoms shows wide disparity, making achieving the targets an uphill task.
For instance, in the central and east Delhi areas served by BSES Yamuna, Nand Nagri, Karwal Nagar and Yamuna Vihar have unbilled power supply between 36% and 48%, whereas the discom's overall loss level is 19%.
For BSES Rajdhani, the biggest discom, the disparities are stark. In places like Palam, Vikarpuri, Najafgarh, Mundka and nearby areas, the loss levels vary between 22% and 52%.
The same discoms, which have arrested the leakage elsewhere, appear helpless in these areas.
Ramesh Narayanan, CEO of BSES Yamuna, said: "It is not like we have not done anything. Every time we have discovered new ways of theft, we have changed technical specifications to eliminate it. It is always a challenge to be a step ahead of thieves, because they are desperate."
The residents of areas like Laxmi Nagar, Janakpuri, Dwarka, Gulmohar Park, Safdarjung Enclave and others have often raised objections, contending honest consumers have to cross-subsidise power thieves.