A day after the revised power tariffs were announced, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said her government had no role in fixing tariffs. Excerpts:
The power tariff hike has shocked people. They are calling the Delhi government anti-people.
The government has no role in increasing power tariffs. The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) increased the charges after talking to all stakeholders, including the discoms, consumers and RWAs. Power purchase cost has gone up from Rs 2 or Rs 3 per unit to R5 or R6. Delhi is the only Indian city that gets continuous power supply. DERC has asked the Centre to investigate why its generation companies have increased power costs.
The Congress lost the municipal polls due to price hike. Won’t this hike further harm your party’s chances in the next elections?
I agree my party lost the municipal polls. But it does not mean we will stop doing what is right for the fear of losing elections. Delhi is the only state where 63% of the budget is allocated to social sector. We have managed to do this because we handled our funds well. We grew by 11% while other states could achieve only 6-7%.
Yet people complain of frequent power cuts...
Yes, local faults are still there. Discoms have to improve the infrastructure. But sometimes you need to take people’s complaints with a pinch of salt. Recently, somebody told me there was no power supply in the entire Patparganj area. I called the residents there and they told me only 10-12 houses in Patparganj village were affected. But I agree that infrastructure has to be improved. I recently inaugurated two grid stations.
Discoms claim they have brought down transmission losses from 52 to 17%. But this has to be improved further.
Transmission losses have come down and discoms have managed to stop power theft. But transmission losses need to be brought down to 12-13%. That would be ideal. We hope we will be able to achieve that.
Do you plan to give any relief to consumers?
We have been giving subsidy to customers who consume less than 200 units every month. We will discuss the issue in the Cabinet and try to continue the subsidy.