Lakhs of families living in the city’s group housing societies face another rise in power bills from this month because of a revision of power tariffs by the local electricity regulator.
The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had said residents of societies with independent connections for common facilities such as elevators, common rooms, community halls, lighting for staircases, streetlights and other similar facilities would be billed at the rate of Rs 7 per unit, the highest for the domestic category. The families were paying R6.50 for the common facilities till July.
“We want people to save energy, which is why they will have the shell out the most for common facilities,” PD Sudhakar, the DERC chairman, said.
The order is expected to affect around 4,000 societies in the city that house around 1.5 lakh people. The societies are located in areas such as Patparganj, Mayur Vihar, Vasundhara Enclave, Dwarka and Rohini.
The power regulator was of the opinion that the higher rate could check wastage of electricity at such societies, believed to be power guzzlers.
“The rise will ensure that common areas in the societies will be taken care of, and electric lights are not left on when not required,” Sudhakar said.
Residents of the societies, predictably, don’t agree with Sudhakar. “This is completely unfair. Those living in group housing societies must naturally take care of common areas such as staircases, halls and parking lots for the residents,” said SK Chetal, a resident of a Dwarka housing society.
“Even flats constructed by the Delhi Development Authority have common areas and they too are always lit. But the residents of these flats have to pay normal rates. Why should the societies pay more? Why are we being singled out?” Chetal asked.
“We are already paying so much, and if the electric supply to common areas is billed at the highest rate, our power bills will go up substantially,” said GL Verma, representing the Mayur Vihar group of housing societies. “We are awaiting the notification. We will give our representation to the DERC and the chief minister as well,” Verma said.
“We shouldn’t be paying for the common areas at all. Residents living in plotted areas don’t have to pay for the common facilities such as streetlights and we should be treated on a par with them,” said Ved Prakash Rathi, president of the federation of Rohini co-operative group housing societies.
The DERC had on July 26 released revised electricity tariffs for 2013-14. The regulator’s move had prompted the Sheila Dikshit government to announce subsidies that will benefit those living in residential areas.