Delhi residents are caught bang in the middle of a brewing ‘power play’ between the power companies and the Delhi government and could be headed for a cruel summer if the standoff is not resolved.
The Delhi government on Tuesday launched an all-out offensive against power distribution companies BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL), saying it was ready to take over electricity distribution.
The government was also exploring the option of engaging other power distribution companies and had already held several meetings in this reagrd, sources said.
During the day, the government also forwarded to the power regulator the consumers’ complaints of outages, asking the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) to penalise the discoms for violations, if any.
In a letter to lieutenant-governor Najeeb Jung, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal justified his government’s decision recommending DERC to revoke the licences of the two discoms if they fail to pay up power generator National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC). Kejriwal sought Jung’s intervention to avert the looming power crisis, accusing the firms of creating an “ugly situation”.
Almost 70% of the Capital is staring at a blackout if BRPL and BYPL do not pay Rs. 449 crore to NTPC by February 11. Nearly 3.2 million consumers in central, south, east and west Delhi will be hit in that situation.
Not only this, demand is all set to touch 6,000 MW this summer, according to the power department. The peak demand last summer was 5,653MW per day.
In his letter to Jung, Kejriwal also accused DERC of not doing its work properly.
“I am bringing this most serious matter to your notice as the government itself may have to step in at some stage, to control the ugly situation which may be created by the three private discoms,” Kejriwal said.
After issuing notices to BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna on Saturday, NTPC, India’s largest power generation company, said it was facing “difficult situation. “...if we are not paid in time, we will have to regulate nearly 2,000 MW of power, we have (other) buyers for it,” NTPC chairman and managing director Arup Roy Choudhury said.
DERC said it was not aware of the CM’s letter. “We have not received a letter. Discoms are making efforts and we hope to resolve the matter but right now we can’t say anything more,” PD Sudhakar, DERC chairman, said.
The discoms said the government’s recommendation to cancel licences was arbitrary and illegal.
“As legally advised, the proposed cancellation of licences in this situation is arbitrary and illegal, and will only serve to demotivate thousands of our employees who have timelessly worked to transform the power supply situation in Delhi,” the two discoms said.