Free Press Journal

No power tariff hike in Delhi, CM credits it to honest politics


Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi: For the first time since 2011, Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) today announced no hike in power rates in the city at the end of its annual tariff determination process, prompting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to ascribe it to “honest politics”.

Announcing the decision, DERC chairman P D Sudhakar said the regulator chose not to increase the rates taking into consideration financial condition of the discoms and views of the stake holders including consumers and the government. The regulator, which had started the tariff revision process in February, also decided to bring parity in power charges between housing society members and regular domestic consumers. The existing slabs of consumption will now be applicable in housing societies on par with domestic consumers.

The DERC chairman also said the regulator was initiating a pension trust for around 20,000 pensioners of the erstwhile DVB. “Congratulations Delhiites. A big relief to u. No power tariff hike. I told u it was possible. All becoz of honest politics,” Kejriwal tweeted, welcoming the DERC’s decision not to hike the tariff.

This is for the first time since 2011 that DERC chose not to effect any tariff hike. “This decision has been taken by taking into account the collective views we gathered from public hearings, government and other quarters. This is also the outcome of various measures we have taken over the last four years including tariff hikes and levying of surcharges. Various issues were also provisionally decided,” Sudhakar said.

Asked about the CAG audit and the draft report that indicted the discoms for alleged irregularities, Sudhakar said the matter is pending in High Court and that the commission will take into account the impact of the final report whenever it is released.

Reacting to DERC’s decision, Delhi Power Minister Satyendar Jain said though the regulator has not announced any hike in tariff, the government was of the firm view that it should have been reduced.

“The government had conveyed its view to the DERC that in the wake of reported findings of the CAG in the media, which have not been disputed by any concerned party so far, the electricity tariffs should be reduced. “The government is also of the view that the Regulatory Assets being demanded by the discoms are highly inflated and these should be completely scrapped by the DERC,” he said.

Sudhakar said that Power Purchase Adjustment Cost, levied in June, will continue for nine months till March 2016 in compliance with the appellate tribunal’s order. Surcharge of 8 per cent for accumulated past regulated assets will also continue. “The accumulated regulatory assets up to March 13 in last year’s order was around Rs 14,000. We have done the true up and it has resulted in reduction of 2,143 crores,” Sudhakar said on DERC’s realization of discoms’ assets.

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 rates for commercial categories including Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Delhi International Airport Ltd., and malls will remain unchanged. The rate for DMRC has been fixed at Rs 6.10 per unit for DIAL at Rs 7.90.
On bringing parity between domestic consumers and group housing societies, Sudhakar said they will be able to avail the benefits of subsidy and charges will be levied on par with general consumers.

“And the same slabs will be applicable to them. Definition of group housing has also been been broadened to include residential complexes of developers as well,” he said. He said the Delhi government had demanded a pension trust for which an amount of Rs 573 crore has been set aside which will be part of the annual revenue requirement.

“There are around 20,000 pensioners of the DVB. As per calculations of the govt we have allocated Rs 573 crore although several aspects are disputed. This is being done in an ad hoc manner. The consumers will get back the amount when the matter is resolved,” he said.

In the industrial category, the scope of the first slab has been widened which, Sudhakar said, will benefit small scale industries. It has been increased to 140 KW from the existing 100 KW.

As per the unchanged tariff, those consuming up to 200 units a month will continue to pay Rs 4, while those falling in the 201-400 bracket will pay Rs 5.95 per unit. The rates for every unit between 401 and 800 will be Rs 7.30. The 801-1200 units slab, which was created last year, will have per unit cost of Rs 8.10 and for consumption beyond 1200 units, rate will be Rs 8.75.

For railways, the rate has will continue to be Rs 6.80 per unit. The DERC chairman said the time of day metering (ToD) will be mandatory for all the commercial users having loads of 25 kilo vault and more. He said those having load between 11KV and 25 KV will also have the option of going for ToD.

The regulator has modified the ToD, which has different tariff slabs for power consumption in peak and off-peak hours, and has decided that it shall remain applicable only during the summer months (May-September).

Time of day rates work by billing for the actual cost of making and delivering power at different times, meaning power is cheapest overnight and on weekends and holidays when overall demand on the electricity system is lower.

Peak hour timings have been revised and the rebate during off peak hours has been reduced from 25 per cent to 20 per cent. It shall continue to be 20 per cent during peak hours. “It is observed that during the months of October to April, the maximum demand is less than the available base supply of power so it is being discontinued,” he said. The Commission has also allowed payment of Rs 70 lakh towards Public Grievances Cell (PGC) for meter testing and consumer advocacy.