Several weeks after it was accused of stopping Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) from announcing new tariff rates, the Sheila Dikshit government came out with its first official defence of the decision. It says that the Commonwealth Games has forced the government to ‘‘request DERC to look into the grievances of the discoms''.
The statement issued by the chief minister's office says that in view of the upcoming mega-event, discoms have been asked to mobilize and arrange for additional power during the Games. The release states that ‘‘deferment of timely recovery of power purchase costs to discoms by DERC has become a concern for discoms'' and ‘‘would have proved to be an obstacle in organising the Games". The statement goes on to say that its concern about its "global image" made the government intervene.
Breaking the long silence on the issue, the statement says that the recent gas price increase which it said was going to impact Delhi's power purchase cost since more than 50% power of Delhi is expected to come from city-based gas generation plants. The chief minister interestingly, had issued a statement only last week saying that the government is willing to accept a reduction in power tariff provided that does not impact the "future power situation".
While DERC officials declined to comment on the government's statement, experts pointed out that the government had made an assumption that discoms' concerns would not be met even without knowing what the unreleased tariff order of 2010-11 said. ‘‘Whatever the demands of the discoms, their spiralling costs and higher power purchase costs - the government cannot just assume that the commission has ignored them basing it just on representations by the discoms. The fact that audited accounts of discoms show a healthy profit has to be taken into account too,'' said officials.
Meanwhile, the BJP said it was not happy with the response and may approach Lt.Governor Tejendra Khanna June 15 to demand Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into role of the Delhi government in not allowing power regulator to go for reduced power rates.
'The BJP has accelerated its movement for reducing the power tariff in the city and started meetings of its workers to accelerate the process. Through banners and pamphlets, the party wants to expose the loot by the power companies in connivance with the government,' the party's city unit chief Vijendra Gupta told reporters.