The Delhi government seems to have finally woken up from its slumber and taken note of the fact that private power distribution companies (discoms) in the city have been selling power on the sly.
Reacting to Hindustan Times report — on how private power distribution companies (discoms) were selling power when the city was reeling under power cuts — on July 6, Delhi Power Secretary Rajendra Kumar wrote to Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), the power watchdog, on Wednesday. The Power Secretary has asked for a probe into the matter and necessary action.
Following this, the DERC has summoned the three discoms to appear before it on July 17 and explain the reason why they had refrained from buying power when the city was experiencing load shedding.
“We have summoned all the three discoms on July 17 for a hearing,” said Berjinder Singh, the DERC chairman.
HT had reported how between June 21 and June 29 — when Delhi suffered its worst power crisis in recent years — the three utilities sold 5.38 million unit (mu) of energy in the open market and earned approximately Rs 5.35 crore while resorting to load shedding in areas where it supplies power.
“This is a very serious charge. We want to know why Delhi people should suffer outages because discoms refused to purchase expensive power. The discoms will have to give an explanation. If we find that discoms are at fault, we will take action against them,” said AK Tewary, the DERC secretary.
Tewary said the chief operating officers of both the BSES and the NDPL were called on Thursday also to the commission and were directed to purchase whatever power was required to meet the city's requirement.
‘We have given them a stern warning that there should not be any loadshedding till monsoons,” he said.
The DERC has also asked the three discoms to clarify if they have violated the commission's order dated March 2007 that mandated “distributing companies/agency should offer any surplus power that they have at any time, to other power utilities in the city at the first instance, and only if the surplus power cannot be absorbed within Delhi it can sell it to others”.
“We have asked all the stakeholders to clarify specific compliance to the DERC's order,” said Tewary.
Situation to improve only after 7-8 months
The government said on Thursday power problems in Delhi will continue for the next 7-8 months and the situation would improve only when various projects planned for Commonwealth Games 2010 are commissioned.
About Delhi’s power demand, which touched around 4,400 MW on Wednesday, Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said: “Delhi would be a power-surplus state after the forthcoming Commonwealth Games. The commissioning of electricity generation projects including Dadri, Jhajjar, Mejia and Pragati, is planned before the Games.”
According to the latest report of the Power Monitoring Cell in the ministry, there was a shortage of 13.3 per cent on Wednesday. The power supply was 90,105 MW against the demand of 1,03,960 MW in the country.
Expressing concern at the rise in power shortage due to the delayed monsoon in the country, Shinde said: “The ministry’s 100-day agenda including commissioning of 5,653 MW power generation capacity will be completed well in time."