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Power is the basis of human lives and is used in almost everything we have. Hence it’s vital in the interest of social development and welfare that power reaches to common citizens without any interruption at affordable rates. However, in case of capital city, the rate at which the power is purchased by the DISCOMS through long term PPA and through Electricity Exchange remains a mystery.
DISCOMS claim that the Power Purchase cost has gone up substantially, which in fact over the years has substantially gone down. In fact, the DISCOMS buy surplus power by nefarious designs to sell surplus power to their sister concerns at lower rates. The loss thus accounted is passed on to the consumers and both DISCOMS & their sister concerns continue to make profit. The consumers thus pay additional Rs.2/unit for this extra electricity bought by DISCOMS. If carrying cost, administrative cost and interest is added then it would translate into Rs.3.50/unit, leading loss to the tune of Rs.16,091 crores, computed at average purchase rate declared by DISCOMS at Rs.3.80.
In the new slab, if your monthly consumption goes above 200 units you would be charged Rs 4.80 per unit for the entire consumption as against previous practice of different rates for first 200 units and the next 200. Further there is discrimination between domestic and non-domestic consumers as regards fixed charges. On one hand where the tariff hikes for the domestic consumers is about 24%, the same hike for non-domestic consumers comes at 20%. With indiscriminate power tariff increase supported by GNCTD, the middle class continues to be affected adversely as normal household in Delhi consumes 300-400 units on monthly basis.
In 2009-10 DERC recommended for the abolition of fixed charges but the present commission has changed its mind. A monthly fixed charge on the basis of sanctioned load is being levied and recovered from all consumers irrespective of how much power they consume. Delhi Vidyut Board was charging minimum charges with one time security deposit but private distribution companies cleverly converted this to fixed charge and a result there is huge profit for the DISCOMS. Fixed charge on monthly basis is nothing but twice on the two different heads for the same thing.
It has also come to light that the residents are paying 25% to 40% higher bills without actually consuming the power. Experts have informed that this is due to ‘Residual Backflow’ caused by providing common neutral to all the electronic meters that are installed in series. Till date neither the Commission nor the DISCOMS have offered any clarification in writing despite having been asked for.
Mystery over DISCOMs
In 2010 the then DERC Chairman Sh. Berijinder Singh and GNCTD locked horns over tariff determination. He had rejected the claims made by DISCOMS of incurring losses as incorrect and informed that DISCOMS were overcharging the Delhi consumers to the tune of Rs. 300 crore a month and recommended government to reduce the rates. Mr. Sing had recommended tariff reduction but Delhi CM stepped favored DISCOMS and forced Mr. Singh not to release the tariff order. There was in fact a surplus of Rs.3,500 Crores but GNCTD ignored his recommendations. After Mr Singh demitted office as Chairman the surplus of Rs.3,500 crores turned into a loss of Rs.7,000 crores and thus resulting into cumulative loss of about Rs.14,000 crores. Even today DISCOMS claim that they are incurring losses whereas the Balance sheets, filed with Power Finance Corporation, indicate that they are in profits. This means DISCOMS are preparing two sets of accounts one for Income Tax and another for DERC, which is nothing but a fraud.
The DISCOMS arithmetically have reduced the losses but when we look at the following table, it is absolutely shocking that neither the DISCMS nor the Commission has initiated any action in the areas having theft over and above 40%. NDMC is providing electricity at the rate of 3.10 Rs/Unit whereas NDPL and BSES are charging 3.70 Rs/Unit despite of the fact that they are buying electricity from the same and at same cost. So the question is why are DISCOMS charging more when NDMC is charging less for the same electricity? Sale of surplus power by DISCOMS should be at cost more than the cost of purchase. But power is sold at lower rate. This directly means power companies are siphoning out profits.
The GNCTD dangled a carrot by promising reduction in tariff after 5 years of privatisation. At the time of privatization, consumers were assured that by 2005 just as in the case of mobile phones, consumers will be able to choose their power supplier and tariff rates would be reduced. However Government of Delhi and DERC failed to encourage competition, as asked under the Electricity Act 2003, Tariff Policy, 2005 and Electricity Policy 2005, for vested interests. The DISCOMS knowing the people have no choice to go, are indulging in arm twisting and blackmailing under a threat that NTPC will stop the power supply if their dues are not paid. Two DISCOMS claim that they are unable to pay as they have no cash, which is blatant lie.
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