With long outages threatening to become a major political issue ahead of assembly polls, a worried Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has asked Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Infrastructure which runs two power distribution companies, to take steps to "rectify" the problem and ensure round-the-clock electricity supply. In a letter to Ambani, Dikshit said the power supply by BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL) and BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL)- has "worsened" in the city contrary to expectation of improvement and asked him to take remedial measures at the earliest.
The Chief Minister said she was "shocked" to know that the two discoms run by Reliance Infrastructure owed dues to the tune of Rs3,337 crore to two Delhi Government-run power generation and transmission companies.
"In fact the power supply situation would have been much worse, but for the generosity shown to both the discoms in the interest of the consumers by the companies owned by the Delhi Government.In fact when the actual amount of outstanding dues came to my notice, I was shocked," she said.
Seeking immediate payment of the dues, Dikshit said Reliance Infrastructure should immediately provide financial assistance to its two discoms so that they can pay up the amount.
"The situation of these two companies has become untenable and Reliance Infra should immediately support BSES companies by way of infusion of cash so that these outstanding can be liquidated without any further delay," said Dikshit in the letter.
Dikshit said failure of BSES discoms to pay up the dues and strengthen the distribution network besides besides low consumer satisfaction have the potential to "derail" the power sector reform in the city.
The city has been facing power cuts ranging for upto 10 hours and BJP has been stepping up attack on Dikshit for the long outages.
Supply of power and water are likely to be major issues in the run up to the assembly polls slated for November.
"The action taken, as evident is not adequate and you are advised to rectify the situation and ensure that the Delhi consumers are provided with 24x7 uninterrupted supply," Dikshit said in the letter.
The Chief Minister had last week warned BRPL and BYPL of punitive action against if they fail to improve supply immediately despite adequate availability of electricity.
Power Secretary Shakti Sinha said the city has more power than the current demand and blamed the long outages on local faults and other technical problems in the distribution network of BSES discoms which supply power in 70% areas of the city.
He said no complaint of long power cuts has been received from areas served by Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL).
In the letter, Dikshit said the TPDDL, working with the same regulatory framework, never defaulted on payment of dues to power generation and transmission companies.
Dikshit said BYPL owes Rs1,060 crore to Government's power generation company Pragati Power Corporation Ltd while the BRPL has outstanding amount of Rs1,147 crore till April.
"No money has been paid since January 2013 and over the last year not even 50% of the current dues has been liquidated by these two companies...If they are not able to meet payments for the fuel then Delhi may see a drastic fall in electricity generation," said Dikshit.
She said BRPL owes another amount of Rs 686 crore to Delhi Transco Ltd, the government-run power firm that maintains major transmission lines, while BYPL has not paid it dues of Rs444 crore.
Additionally the two companies have an outstanding due of Rs311 crore to Damodar Valley Corporation, the state-run power generation company that supplies around 500 mega watt to Delhi daily.
The two companies also owe several crores to Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL).
In an earlier letter to Ambani, Dikshit had asked him to strengthen power distribution infrastructure of BSES discoms in Delhi and particularly expressed her unhappiness over failure of the two discoms to cut down AT&C (Aggregate Technical and Commercial) losses.
"BRPL and BYPL are suffering a lot from distribution constraints and enough attention has not been paid to augment the infrastructure.It has led to overloading of transformers resulting in frequent tripping and loadshedding," said Dikshit.
The Chief Minister criticised the BRPL and BYPL for not taking up the AT&C loss reduction programmes seriously and said though the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had asked the discoms to bring it down to 15%, they failed to do so.
"Unless the mounting dues, frequent loadshedding, poor consumer satisfaction and inability to reduce the AT&C losses further are attended to on the part of the BSES discoms with seriousness it deserves, it has the potential to derail the power sector reform in Delhi," said Dikshit.
The DERC in November 2011 had threatened to suspend license of the BSES discoms for failing to clear huge dues to the generation companies.
The Delhi Government then had agreed to infuse fresh equity to the tune of around Rs 500 crore into BSES to help it get a bank loan of Rs5,000 crore.
The Delhi Government has 49% stake in the BRPL and BYPL.