Power politics at play in Capital
In Delhi, the issue of power tariff has been mired in controversy for the past few years and is now locked in a legal battle at the high court.
Power tariff in Delhi is sub judice, hence cannot be influenced by any advisory of the government or any directions of the tribunal.
"Power being a concurrent subject, state governments are likely to take their own stands, which may not match the Centre's stand, because power tariff is a politically sensitive issue," said a Delhi power department official.
As per the Electricity Act, determining power tariff is the right enjoyed solely by the power regulatory commissions. "Determining tariff is a purely numerical exercise based on calculations of audited accounts. It is not something the power regulator can come up with arbitrarily, responding to any advice," he said.
The power distribution utilities in Delhi — all private entities in a joint venture with the state government — have for the past few years complained that their resources have been bleeding, thanks to a tariff that, they claim, is not "cost reflective", which is one of the cornerstones of National Power Tariff Policy.
But the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, after analysing the audited
accounts of the power companies, has been denying any tariff hike citing revenue surplus of discoms and high profitability in Delhi's power distribution business.
In Delhi power is sold for Rs 2.45-R4.65 per unit, depending on the consumption bracket. It is lower than what people in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai pay.
The Delhi government allows a subsidy of R1 per unit if the electricity consumption can be contained to 200 per month.