Days after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal accused the power distribution companies of blackmailing the government by threatening a blackout in parts of the city, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government has suggested suspending the distribution licences of BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL).
In a letter sent to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), the government has asked the regulator to find out from discoms whether they were going to stop substantial part of supply beyond February 10.
The government has offered to take over the functioning of the distribution utilities and also suggested the appointment of its officials as the administrative officers for the utilities.
Power secretary Puneet Kumar Goel has written to the chairman of DERC stating that it was the duty of the power regulator to take care of their finances.
"DERC has issued licences to the discoms for distribution of power and the stand of the discoms that they are unable to supply power to consumers of Delhi for long hours calls for revocation of their licences by DERC under section 19(d) of the Electricity Act 2003," the government said in a statement.
DERC has been requested to immediately identify the officers, in consultation with chief secretary Delhi, who may be appointed as administrative officers so that immediate action is possible.
"We have not received the letter so far. We will take suitable action," said PD Sudhakar, chairman of DERC.
A BSES spokesperson said they were not aware of the developments. "We are not aware of any such development. This matter has not been discussed at the board meeting since the discoms are a 51/49 joint venture with the Delhi government. We are deeply committed to the consumers of Delhi, and have served them for over 10 years and reduced power losses to the tune of nearly R 35,000 crores, which have accrued as savings to Delhi government," said a BSES spokesperson.
Power department officials said that BRPL and BYPL, which caters to 70 per cent of Delhi's area, say they do not have adequate funds because of which they have been unable to pay NTPC to purchase power. "In case these discoms continue with their stand, the DERC may not have an alternative but to suspend their licences immediately," said a senior Delhi government official.