Hundreds of residents’ welfare associations in Delhi have filed their objections and suggestions against further increase in power tariff rates with the Delhi Electricity Regulatory commission under the Multi-Year Tariff Regulation 2012 to 2015. Elaborating on the issue, Rajiv Kakria of Greater Kailash-I RWA said: “Year after year, the DERC has been issuing advertisements demanding public objections and suggestions against tariff hike. Despite objections along with solid documentary proof and genuine suggestions submitted by the RWAs, the DERC has always used these suggestions for paper pushing and increased power tariff rates on farce papers and reports submitted by power companies.”
The RWAs also charged that most of the objections filed by them remained unanswered by the DERC and the power companies. “The RWA representatives during public hearings on objections are called in small numbers from different parts of the Capital by the DERC to divide them. They should be invited to a single public hearing in a big hall so that their concerns can be heard together,” said Anil Bajpai of the RWA Federation East.
In their petitions, the RWAs have raised a number of concerns and objections.
They have stated that discoms keep asking for tariff hike but remain quiet about reducing tariffs on account of reduction in distribution losses. Distribution losses should be borne by the discoms as it is their responsibility to curb theft and leakages. “We can grant them a nominal 3 per cent cost on account of distribution loss as per the international practice,” the RWAs have suggested.
Similarly, the RWAs have stated that there should be no tariff enhancement till the audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General establishes the true state of finances and the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICA) establishes the inventory and tariff determination procedure.
They have cautioned that the discoms would be in a hurry to furnish the records to CAG and ICA and will try to delay the process and keep earning heavy profits. Moreover, the RWAs have stated that the discoms are also charging twice under the same head by way of fixed charge for having incurred capital expenditure and getting 16 per cent return on capital expenditure. Earlier, this was the minimum charge and was adjusted if the consumption exceeded minimum usage.
The residents have also stated that even after charging the recent Load Enhancement Security Deposit, through which the discoms collected crores of rupees, they have installed higher load meters nor have they changed any wires or cables. There, a demand has also been made for abolishing the fixed charge.
Another important issue raised by the RWAs is that 11 years after discoms took over power distribution, they have not adhered to the performance standards on quality, stability, reliability, cheaper power, curbing theft (in theft prone areas), beautification of city (ugly over head wires still dot the skyline) and setting up power plants. “First they should perform as per the agreed performance standards then only we look at any other demand,” the RWAs stated.