Expressing its displeasure at the "silent order" issued by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) allowing the three power distribution companies in the capital to increase power tariffs, the Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the regulator to file an affidavit on whether it had applied its own procedure and formula to calculate the tariff increase.
"Is there a formula for calculating (the increase)? Have you followed the formula?" the bench of acting Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Siddharth Mridul said while hearing a plea filed by Madhuresh Lakhaiyar, one of the founding members of the AAP, against the tariff hike.
The DERC has been asked to submit its affidavit within two weeks explaining the formula and procedure behind the tariff hike.
The DERC had on July 31, 2013, passed an order permitting BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, BSES Yamuna Power Ltd, and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd to increase their Power Purchase Adjustment Charges (PPAC) charges by 6, 8 and 7 per cent, respectively.
According to the plea, the DERC had allowed the increase in surcharge "in nexus with the discoms".
Advocate Suresh Tripathy, who appeared for the petitioner, argued that the PPAC accounted for nearly 80 per cent of the power bills and the DERC did not follow the procedure of conducting a public hearing before allowing increase in tariff.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by Aam Aadmi Party founding member Madhuresh Lakhaiyar seeking direction to the three discoms in the capital to not increase power tariffs.
The public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Lakhaiyar sought the court's direction to ascertain the reason for increasing the power tariff as per the recent hike in power purchase cost adjustment changes (PPAC) by calling records of the DERC.
The PIL said the move could have been avoided as the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) was already looking into the accounts of the discoms.
On Jan 31 last year, the DERC had approved a quarterly PPAC sought by the three power distribution companies for the October-December quarter.
The plea said the three discoms - BSES Rajdhani, BSES Yamuna and Tata Power - in the past few years, in nexus with the DERC, steadily increased the PPAC and other charges, with the resulting increase in the tariff to be paid by consumers.
"In view of the audit being conducted of the accounts of the three discoms by the CAG, due to serious allegations regarding their functioning and accounting, the state commission ought to have waited till the report of the CAG," the petition said.
The PIL said the discoms have claimed that since the power purchase cost has increased, they have to increase the PPAC component.
"The increase in PPAC has been sought only with a view to neutralise the incentive offered by the Delhi government of upto 50 percent rebate for use upto 400 units of electricity," the PIL said.
"The NTPC has threatened to discontinue providing electricity unless Rs.180 crore is paid by the discoms, whereas the truth is that there are other states where the outstanding dues run into thousands of crores but no threat of discontinuation is made."
Source- Indian Express