Delhi power firms cook books: RWAs
Facing a power tariff hike and deprived of a tariff cut last year despite a Rs 3,577-crore surplus posted by the distribution companies, Delhi’s consumers are on the warpath. Avishek G Dastidar reports. Consumer queriesUpdated: Jul 05, 2011 01:34 IST
Facing a power tariff hike and deprived of a tariff cut last year despite a Rs 3,577-crore surplus posted by the distribution companies, Delhi’s consumers are on the warpath.
The Capital’s residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) have unanimously demanded that the books of the power companies — BSES Yamuna, BSES Rajdhani and North Delhi Power Ltd — be re-audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
The consumers want the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (DERC) tariff order prepared last year — stalled by the Delhi government — to be implemented. The order said the surplus earned by the discoms should lead to a tariff cut.Calling the accounts of the power companies "doctored", the consumers want the tariff fixing process to be initiated only after the CAG audit. They are also keeping the option of moving court against any tariff hike next month.
The discoms will get a chance to file their replies to the DERC.
“The power regulator advised the Delhi government last year to get the distribution companies’ accounts verified by the CAG. After that, the DERC chairman retired and no one heeded the advice,” said Hemantha Sharma from a Lajpat Nagar RWA, who made a detailed presentation against tariff hike before the commission on Monday.
Although the discoms argue that the CAG cannot audit private companies’ books, the consumers said the private telecom companies’ books had recently been audited by the CAG. “What have they got to hide?” said GK-I resident Rajiv Kakria. The consumers have found “discrepancies” after going through the discoms’ accounts. For instance, they point out that in 2008-09, the discoms bought power from Dulhasti hydroelectric plant in Jammu and Kashmir at Rs 2.94 a unit.
But next year, the unit cost of power from the same plant was shown as Rs 9.54.
RWA members also suspected foul play as the audited accounts of the BSES discoms had not been signed by the three government-appointed board members, who are IAS officers — then power secretary Rajendra Kumar, VV Bhat and DM Spolia.
What’s more, the presentation said, “The discoms claimed they had to pay around Rs 5-6 a unit to buy power in open market, while the same market got them only about Rs 2-3 a unit when they sold surplus power.”
The RWA representatives alleged that the firms had willfully caused losses to themselves.