DERC blocks AAP’s plan on power theft amnesty

Monday, 01 June 2015 17:55 Harikumar B

AAPThe Capital's power regulator has blocked an AAP government proposal to provide amnesty to those facing charges of power theft since the dues would then be passed on to honest consumers.

Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) chairman PD Sudhakar said the scheme submitted by discoms — in line with a poll promise made by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal — was untenable in the current format since the power companies would seek to raise tariff to recover their losses. He further said that as per the amnesty scheme — which seeks to settle pending theft cases for domestic consumers and revise dues of consumers living in slum clusters — would result in honest tax payers getting burdened further.

"This treatment would be unjust for the average honest consumers," said an order issued by the DERC, a copy of which is with HT.

"It may be noted that in the course of implementation of the said scheme, any revenues forgone in the process of giving amnesty to some consumers can neither be considered as deemed to have been collected for the purpose of determining collection efficiency and AT&C loss figures or in any other form as pass through in the ARR," the order said.

According to sources, the commission was of the view that the government could ask the discoms to submit a fresh proposal which provides relief to alleged defaulters in the form of a grant or subsidy.

Cash-strapped discoms are unlikely to foot the bill, sources said.

"We were asked to prepare a scheme and submit it to the DERC. We were asked to provide relief to all those who voluntarily declared their tampered meters or provided information about illegal use of electricity. But the DERC told us that we can't pass it on to other consumers as it would not be fair. We were told that this (the loss) will not be included in the tariff likely to be announced next month," said a discom official.

The AAP government had earlier promised to consider the closure of power theft cases filed against some consumers when the Congress was in power in the national capital.

Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party had accused the Congress government of being "hand-in-glove" with power discoms in the Capital. The party had also promised relief to those who had refused to pay their electricity bills during the AAP agitation against high tariffs and inflated bills.

Source- Hindustan Times