Taking a tough stand on the power distribution companies, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government is exploring other options to resolve the current power crisis.
According to sources, the government is in talks with other companies who could be given charge of power distribution in the city, if the licences of the power distribution companies BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) are suspended and cancelled.
“A few meetings have taken place and the government is keen to bring in other power distribution companies. The government is happy with the functioning of one of the discoms — Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited. They have not defaulted on their payments and have been performing well,” said a senior Delhi government official.
The crisis arose after the National Power Thermal Corporation (NTPC) threatened to snap power if BYPL did not pay the January bill of Rs. 179 crore by February 11. BYPL said it would result in outages in east and central Delhi.
The NTPC also issued notice to BRPL to renew the letter of credit (a payment security mechanism) by paying Rs. 270 crore by February 10/11, failing which power supply would be snapped in south and west Delhi.
The present allocation of power to BSES Rajdhani from NTPC stations is 1261 MW and for BSES Yamuna it is 811 MW.
Not only this, the AAP government, which had launched an SMS facility to report power cuts, received 1,000 complaints between January 20 and January 31. The power department forwarded some of those complaints to the power regulator, asking it to take action against the power distribution companies in case they had violated performance standards.
“We received 1,000 complaints in the past 20 days and have sent some of them to the power regulator to check why discoms resorted to such power cuts. In case performance standards have been violated, penalty can be imposed on the discoms,” said a senior Delhi government official.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also wrote a letter to the Lt. Governor, informing him about the current power scenario and alleged that the power regulator had not done its work properly.
“He is the representative of the centre and NTPC is under the Centre, and hence the chief minister wants to apprise him of the situation. If the need arises, the government will be forced to step in,” said a senior Delhi government official.
In the letter, Kejriwal has said that under the Electricity Act, 2003, the DERC was required to take care of the financials of the discoms through adequate tariff.
“It is presumed that this has been done. If still the discoms claim inability to supply power due to their financial difficulties, there may not be any alternative with the DERC but to suspend/revoke their licences and takeover the management of the companies,” reads the letter.