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Is discom fudging power cut numbers? Regulator’s probe on

delhi Updated: Aug 08, 2009 00:03 IST
Avishek G. Dastidar

Did private power distributor BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) fudge its internal reports to show less power cuts in Delhi?

Twenty-four hours after being slapped with a show-cause notice from the power regulator seeking to cancel its license for a year, BRPL seems in for more trouble.

A top company source told HT that a team of investigators from Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) on Friday visited BSES headquarters and the Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) centre to scan the discom’s internal system of report generation on power cuts.

From the line of interrogation, the regulatory panel seemed convinced that the discom’s internal reports on outages misrepresented facts, the official said.

The data acquisition centre is a large console displaying the real-time demand-supply and breakdowns in the network of BSES. This is the place, which generates the true picture on power supply.

Based on this data, the company prepares its management information system reports.

Investigators have found that many a time the data in the reports do not match that at the acquisition centre.

For instance, if the real-time data displayed power cuts for 10 hours in an area, the internal report showed that the cut was for two hours only.

“They wanted to understand in detail the technology we use to generate reports. They must have done some data crunching to believe that our internal reports do not always match the real-time data,” he said on the condition of anonymity.

While the regulatory panel refused to comment saying the probe was not complete, Arun Kanchan, BSES Chief Executive Officer, said the system was entirely automated.

“Data generated at the SCADA is turned into reports. There is provision to prepare the reports manually also just as a backup option,” Kanchan said. “We explained to the DERC officials the entire process (of data generation) and all aspects of our operations.”

Even if BRPL’s culpability is proved, the law does not have sufficient teeth to mete out severe punishment.

The law says for each violation, the fine could be "up to Rs 1 lakh". And as per Section 24 of the Electricity Act, 2003, the license can be suspended.

“The fine amount may be too small to cause any ripples. And suspending the license means finding an administrator from outside to run the show. The DERC is unlikely to go to such lengths,” said the official.