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Taking strong exception to allegations levelled by Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government regarding alleged losses incurred because of “cheap” sale of surplus electricity, power distribution companies (discoms) have asked the government “to take over the entire responsibility for ensuring adequate power to meet the peak demand, and to sell the resulting surplus off-peak power in the most optimal manner”.
Arvind Kejriwal's Delhi government power department, however, said no decision had been taken in this regard. “We have received the letter. The power regulator, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Authority (DERC), needs to be consulted first,” a senior government official said.
In a letter to Delhi’s power secretary, dated January 15, BSES CEO Gopal K Saxena had said, “In the interests of transparency, and to avoid such baseless allegations and unnecessary controversy, the BSES discoms hereby request the government of Delhi to take over the entire responsibility for ensuring adequate power to meet the peak demand, and to sell the resulting surplus off-peak power in the most optimal manner at the alleged rate of Rs 5.75 per unit, or for that matter, at any rate(s) above the presently realised sale price. Needless to say, the benefits of such higher sale realisation, to the extent actually achieved, will be passed on to all consumers.”
The letter points out that the allegations are based on an order issued by former DERC chairman Brijender Singh, which had said the “discoms can allegedly make a profit of Rs 3,577 crore per year through the sale of such surplus power”.
“The fact that the aforesaid ‘order’ does not exist, and the same has already been quashed by the Delhi High Court vide its judgment dated May 23, 2011, (which has become final), is being overlooked,” Saxena said in the letter.
“In our assessment, the sales price of Rs 5.75 per unit for such off-peak sales of surplus power assumed in the aforesaid ‘order’ of Shri Brijender Singh, for arriving at a fictitious yearly profit of Rs 3,577 crore, is completely illusory and has no basis whatsoever. The DERC in its tariff order dated August 26, 2011, also set aside hypothetical assumptions on sale of surplus power.”
The letter also pointed out that “the demand for power in Delhi varies widely during the year and during the course of each day, depending on seasonal and time-of-day changes”. BSES said the peak demand for their two discoms “has increased from approximately 3,100 MW in 2003 to 5,650 MW in 2014”.
The surplus power, which is available only during the “off-peak” period, is sold at an “average sale price well below purchase price under long term Power Purchase Agreements (PPA)”. BSES said the PPAs were “executed by the erstwhile Delhi Vidyut Board, under the Delhi government, and assigned to BSES by DERC in 2007”.