Citing the widening revenue gap of around Rs 28,000 crore, Delhi’s three private power distribution companies have pitched for early announcement of annual tariff revision.
The companies, which have sought up to 20 per cent hike in tariff, have communicated to DERC about the resource crunch being faced by them owing to steep rise in power purchase cost.
The Reliance Energy-backed BSES discoms has petitioned the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) for upto 19 per cent hike, while Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) has demanded an increase of 20 per cent.
The DERC is in the process of finalising the tariff for 2015-16 and is likely to announce the new rates by the end of August after taking views of various stakeholders including the consumers.
Making a case for hiking tariff, the discoms have argued that their combined revenue gap due to absence of a cost-reflective tariff has gone upto Rs 28,000 crore and the financial position would worsen further if there was no increase in rates.
The total under recoveries of BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd have risen to Rs 20,000 crore while for TPDDL, it has been estimated at Rs 8,000 crore, as per the discoms.
On June 12, the DERC had hiked tariff by upto six per cent to compensate the discoms for rise in power purchase cost. The AAP government had strongly criticised the DERC for the hike.
DERC chairman P D Sudhakar said the discoms have been buying 95-98 per cent of power as per provisions of the long-term power purchase pacts signed between erstwhile Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) and state-run power utilities like NTPC.
Power experts said Delhi discoms have to incur 60 per cent more cost on buying power compared to other states because of the long-term power purchase.
The DVB, which used to supply electricity in Delhi, was disbanded in 2002 as part of reforms in the power sector. However, the private power distribution companies were made to comply with various pacts DVP signed with central government entities.
Sources in the DERC said it was yet to take a decision on hiking tariff again which may escalate its confrontation with the AAP government.
Power tariff was a major issue for AAP during the Delhi polls. The Kejriwal government had in February announced a 50 per cent subsidy on monthly power consumption upto 400 units till the government receives the CAG report on financial condition of the discoms.
In its first stint, the AAP government had ordered a CAG audit of all the three discoms, claiming they have been misleading the government and the DERC about their financial position.
The city has seen a series of hikes in power tariff in the past two years.
The tariff was hiked by 22 per cent in 2011 followed by five per cent rise in February 2012. The rates were increased by up to two per cent in May 2012 and again by 26 per cent for domestic consumers in July 2012.
It was hiked by up to three per cent in February 2013 and again by five per cent in August 2013. It was increased by upto 7 per cent in November last year.
The cost of buying power has increased primarily on account of an increase in the input prices of raw material like coal and gas, officials said.
According to official figures, around 80-90 per cent of total revenue of discoms goes into purchasing power from central and state government-owned entities through long-term power purchase agreement, at rates determined by the central and state regulators.