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Home News Power Sector News Arbitrary load shedding - DERC threatens to suspend Reliance License in Delhi

Arbitrary load shedding - DERC threatens to suspend Reliance License in Delhi

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BRPL- An Anil Ambani companyDelhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) slapped a showcause notice on Reliance-backed discom BSES Rajdhani, seeking to know why its licence under Electricity Act, 2003, should not be suspended. BRPL, an Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group company, distributes electricity to south, west and central Delhi areas.This is the first time a notice for cancellation of licence has been served to a power utility in the country.

In June, the city faced its worst power crisis since power distribution was privatised in 2003, with eight-ten hour cuts leading to protests and violence against distcom officials. According to sources, DERC prima facie found that BSES Rajdhani had failed to maintain supply of electricity in the month of June, 2009, which led to 10 to 12 hour outages in its distribution areas. The discom was given a week's time to file a reply as to why its licence should not be suspended after which DERC will pass a final order.

Senior DERC officials confirmed that a showcause notice had been served to BSES Rajdhani for unprecedented outages. According to the regulator, which launched a probe into the power crisis in June, there was loadshedding to the tune of 32 million units (MU) by all three discoms BSES Rajdhani, BSES Yamuna and NDPL in June out of which 24 MU was by BSES Rajdhani alone, and for which the regulator found "no satisfactory explanation''. The worst crisis period was between June 20 and June 30 when most of the loadshedding took place. On those 10 days, Delhi went without power for hours on end, leading to a law-and-order situation in the city.

The showcause notice also included a provision for imposition of penalty for deficiency in service, to be borne by the company and CEO. Sources said BSES Rajdhani was unable to justify the massive and unprecented loadshedding in June when the power demand in Delhi was at its peak. On Thursday, DERC officials also carried out a surprise raid at the BSES headquarters and seized documents which supported its claim that the discom was indeed at fault.

Experts said there were a number of factors behind the loadshedding in June by BSES Rajdhani which caters to south, central and west Delhi areas and feeds important colonies like Vasant Vihar, Defence Colony, Greater Kailash I and II, Nehru Place, South Extension, Malviya Nagar, Gulmohar Park etc. In the probe launched by the regulator three weeks ago, DERC reportedly found evidence of several factors like BSES selling power outside which led to loadshedding. BSES allegedly cut power supply despite availability, refused to enter into suitable tie-ups, overdrew from the Grid but still resorted to loadshedding.

Under Section 24 (a) of the Electricity Act, 2003, if any time a distribution licensee persistently fails to maintain uninterrupted supply of electricity conforming to standards regarding quality of electricity to consumers and circumstances render it necessary for public interest to do so, the appropriate commission may suspend for a period not exceeding one year the licence of the distribution licensee. The Act also states that the commission shall give a reasonable opportuntiy to the distribution licensee to make a representation against the proposed suspension.

Source- Times of India

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