NGO claims consumers over-billed by Rs 45,00 cr

Feb 15 2013, 22:16 IST
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SummaryIt said power tariff has been hiked in Delhi by a whopping 59 per cent in last two years.

of such power would lead to an avoidable loss of Rs 17,000 crore approximately," Sood said.

Accusing Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission of taking decisions to favour the discoms, Sood also demanded immediate disbanding of the current DERC.

The NGO said though auditing of accounts and prudence check of the discoms at the end of every financial year is mandatory, no such exercise has been carried out since 2004-2005.

Questioning the credibility of DERC, the NGO said PricewaterhouseCoopers which was appointed by the regulator as consultant to prepare tariff orders for the year 2011 to 2015 and the audit firm was statutory auditor of Reliance Infra for 2009-10. Two discoms BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd are backed by the Reliance Infra.

The NGO also accused Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit of supporting the discoms and said government was allowing exploitation of the consumers by the private companies.

On May 4, 2010, the Delhi government, using a special power, had stalled DERC's decision to announce the annual tariff for 2010-11 till it re-examined the demands from discoms to increase the rates.

The DERC, which was making last minute preparations to announce the new tariff next day, after receiving the government directive had indicated that it had planned to cut down the tariff by 20 to 25 per cent as discoms would have a surplus of around Rs 4,000 crore if the existing tariff was not changed.

Although DERC was strongly arguing for a cut in tariff, the three-member regulator, following retirement and subsequent appointment of two new members, gave indication of taking a sympathetic approach to the demands of the discoms and hiked the tariff by 22 per cent in August 2011 and 26 per cent in June last year for domestic consumers.

The government's notification stalling the tariff order was quashed by Delhi High Court in February, describing the intervention as "absolutely unjustified, unwarranted, untenable".

Following the Delhi government's intervention, the then DERC headed by Berjinder Singh, who was strongly arguing for cut in power tariff, had sought opinion of the then Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium on the issue who held the government's directive as "ultra vires".

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