No one can forget the series of intolerable power cuts this summer.
Large parts of the Capital, especially South and West Delhi, suffered one of the worst power crisis in June, with eight to 10 hours of power cuts daily.
But the good news is that those harrowing days might become history soon with the power situation not so bad again.
The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (DERC’s) new ruling to impose heavy fine on discoms for arbitrary load shedding is a great idea simply because it hits the private power companies where it hurts the most: their pockets.
If total load shedding is over 1 per cent of total power supplied, discoms will have to pay up to Rs 5 lakh for every 2 kilo-watt hours of electricity they could not/did not supply.
Sample this: If this order was applied on retrospective effect (hypothetically speaking), then for June’s load shedding alone discom BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL) could have been fined Rs 4.25 crore — sources at the DERC said.
For want of a penal clause against unjustified load shedding, the regulator instead fined the discom a whopping Rs 1.68 crore — only on charges of overdrawing power from the Northern Grid.
“While investigating June’s power crisis, the power regulatory commission realised that there was absolutely no provision anywhere to penalise any power utility for unjustified load shedding,” said DERC secretary A.K. Tewary.
“The Electricity Act was silent on this, so were all guidelines and relevant codes.”
Discoms are now sending reports to the regulator on power supplied and load shed, etc., every week.
Power sector sources said one of the fallouts of this ruling will be that the Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) losses of discoms might show an upward trend.
“It is an open secret that discoms reduced power losses at several areas by shedding load, thus bringing down the AT&C loss. Now they will have to be careful about that,” said a senior discom official who did not wish to be named, as he wasn't authorised to speak on this.
Understandably, the consumers are happy. “For a long time consumers needed something like this,” said Pankaj Aggarwal, general secretary, RWAs Joint Front.
“But fines imposed on discoms should not come back to us.”