The issue of inflated electricity bills took centrestage on Tuesday with BJP members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) accusing the government of favouring the power distribution companies over the consumers. Senior BJP MLA Jagdish Mukhi accused discoms of "fooling" people by showing fictitious accounts that show them in going into loses.
"The issue of inflated power bills is a burning topic. Power tariff has gone up by 600% ever since the privatisation. There is no check on them and the Delhi government interferes with the working of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC)," said Mukhi.
BJP MLAs came down heavily on the government for failing to provide 24X7 power supply despite 10 years of privatisation. According to the sources, even Congress MLAs raised the issue of inflated bills during the Congress legislature party meeting on Tuesday.
"A number of MLAs suggested that rationalisation will be helpful in reducing the billing amounts. A number of them said that it can impact the party adversely in next year’s assembly elections," a source said. ."Privatisation was brought about so the losses could be plugged and 24X7 power supply could be provided for. But even after 10 years, while the supply still does not meet the demand, electricity tariff has increased manifold," said Ramesh Bidhuri, BJP MLA.
However, the power minister Haroon Yusuf rebutted the claims of the opposition. He said that Mukhi’s statement of 600% increase in the tariff was factually incorrect.
"Average power purchase cost has gone up by 248% from 2007-08 to 2012-13 whereas the hike in tariff has been only 122%. The government is providing a subsidy of R1 per unit to a total of 58.63% consumers which is 19,88,401 families on consumption of monthly power up to 200 units," he said adding that his government has always been taking decisions that favour the citizens. "The opposition can't digest the pro-people policies of the government, hence, it strives hard to mislead people by presenting doctored facts and data," he added.