Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) will be announcing new power tariff early next month. A day after the regulatory body completed the two-day public hearing, officials said that they will announce revised tariff within four weeks. Putting aside demands made by the AAP government to stall the order till CAG audit results for discoms were announced, the regulator said they had to follow rules of the Electricity Act for an annual tariff revision.
The public hearing gave consumers, activists and RWAs a platform to air their views and argue against the proposed hike. Over 300 people participated in the hearing along with a few AAP MLAs. While other participants reached a consensus to reject demands by power companies for an increase in tariffs, the AAP MLAs urging DERC to wait for CAG audit results.
"We do not know when the audit results will be declared so cannot wait for it. If they come before the new tariff is announced, then the findings of the audit result will be incorporated in the order. We had said this last year as well. Tariff revision is an annual process that needs to be completed," said a senior DERC official.
Sources said that the commission deliberately delayed the tariff process this year in anticipation of CAG audit results, but the power companies kept pressuring them to revise domestic tariff. Announcements on possible changes in open access policy as well certain penalties are expected in next month's order.
Delhiites may not actually have to pay more for electricity when the tariff order is announced as DERC's preliminary assessment of the claims made by power discoms for financial year 2014-15 suggests that against their demand for up to 20 per cent hike, not more than 2-3 per cent is actually required to adjust the revenue gap. Sources said that even this may be brought down to nothing because the commission may impose penalties on the discoms that will adjust even the minimal revenue gaps.
In their tariff petitions, the Reliance-backed BSES discoms sought a tariff hike of up to 19 per cent, while Tata Power Delhi asked for 20 per cent. Arguing for the increase, the discoms submitted that their combined revenue gap due to the absence of a cost-reflective tariff has gone up to Rs 28,000 crore. The total under-recoveries of BRPL and BYPL have risen to Rs 20,000 crore, while for Tata Power Delhi it is estimated at Rs 8,000 crore, the discoms said.