Armed with documents, statistics, legal advice and research material, up to 100 members of residents' welfare associations (RWAs) and consumer activists participated in the hearing. Heads of the three discoms - BSES Rajdhani, BSES Yamuna and NDPL - were also present. Various stakeholders took to the stage trying to convince DERC members Shyam Wadhera and J P Singh, and chairman P D Sudhakar about their stand.
In the four sessions of the public hearing held over two days, up to 100 people spoke against tariff hike and petitioned for lower rates. Aware that this could be their last chance to be heard by the regulator before new tariff is announced next month, consumers raised a number of issues ranging from discoms' accounts manipulation to AT&C losses to delay in implementation of new performance standard regulations.
Consumer activists had filed petitions on four grounds - logical, technical, criminal and legal - and one representative spoke in detail on each of these. Rajiv Kakria, who spoke on criminal and logical grounds, said, "How is it possible that every year for the same period the consumption recorded in my electronic meter keeps going up? There is obviously some flaw in meters that is not being addressed at the right level. This time, RWAs and activists have put up a united front against tariff hike and we have done research and involved experts to prove our stand."
Another member said, "We want more transparency and all objections made by the public at the hearing should be put up on DERC website along with the replies of the discoms."
The CEOs of two discoms interacted with stakeholders outside the hearing room and were bombarded with enquiries from residents apprehensive about a tariff hike. While BSES Rajdhani's Gopal Saxena and NDPL's Sunil Wadhwa spoke to the public, BSES Yamuna's Ramesh Narain spent most of his time inside the hearing. Saxena and Wadhwa tried to convince consumers that tariff hike was necessary. "Tariff is based on certain fixed costs based on DERC norms. If I spend more than what is allotted, that leaves a gap. Whatever we spend in excess is used from our own pocket . We have not claimed any excess expenditure over these norms except for factors like Sixth Pay Commission. Our accounts are open for verification ,"said Saxena.
Source- Times of India