For Sanjeev Sharma, a resident of Bhogal, the best part about the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s tenure is his monthly power bill which has gone down considerably in the past one year.
And he points out that the lower electricity bill is not the result of less power usage in his two BHK home.
“It is because of the AAP sarkar has fulfilled its promise of slashing power tariff. The bill is now is not exactly half of what it was earlier, but it is still quite a bit (less),” Sharma said. He added that earlier consumers like him provided subsidy in two slabs — 0-200 units and 201-400 units. “The second one was subsidised at a lower rate but we did not get any rebate on the first 200 units,” Sharma said.
As the AAP government led by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal completes a year in office, there will be lakhs of people like Sharma who would have benefitted from the AAP government’s largesse — a major pre-poll promise which the government managed to fulfill.
Right after coming to power for its second stint, the Kejriwal government announced a flat 50% subsidy for people consuming less than 400 units a month, and thereby benefitting most middle-income households across the city.
According to a senior Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) official, the subsidy is costing the government around Rs 1,400 crore annually.
“We give power at the rates decided by the Delhi Electric Regulatory Commission (DERC). It is the decision of the Delhi government to provide this subsidy for the benefit of people and the government pays for this,” the official added.
However, slashing tariff was just one part of the bigger battle the AAP government had declared against the power distributing companies (discoms).
Last year, the AAP government also had ordered a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) audit of all discoms — Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd, BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd — on several grounds including that it has 49 per cent stakes in the power distribution companies.
However, the Delhi high court later held that “there can be no other audit by CAG at the instance of the state government when regulatory body, Delhi Electric Regulatory Commission, is already there to audit the accounts of discoms”.
As things stand now, the Supreme Court is hearing appeals filed by the CAG as well as the state government against the Delhi high court order.
For the AAP government, its endeavour for better regulation of discoms may lie in the new power tariff police approved by the Union Cabinet in January which envisages clean energy, and faster roll out of investment in the sector.