Power Minister Haroon Yusuf has sent a strong message to discoms that tariff determination was the domain of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC). “It is the DERC which decides tariff in Delhi and the process is already under way there. Discoms’ ARRs are with the commission and public hearings as being held according to procedure. Discoms cannot decide on their own whether they should get a 50% or 60% hike,” said Yusuf.
The minister had some harsh words to say about the Reliance discoms who hinted that outages may be unavoidable this summer as they were suffering a cash flow problem of Rs 7 crore everyday. “This kind of blackmailing will not be tolerated by the government under any circumstances. Discoms are private companies and it is their duty to raise funds from whatever source available. I don’t know on what grounds they are claiming they do not have credit ratings with banks but the government will not budge from its stand. Let the discoms resort to loadshedding in summers and we will be forced to take action accordingly. The government has enough measures to take if such a situation comes up,” said Yusuf.
Yusuf has rubbished discoms’ claims about shortage of power availability this summer. “We approached Union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde over the unallocated power and now 200MW of this power started coming to Delhi from Thursday. The Supreme Court has also directed Damodar Valley Corporation to supply 250MW to Delhi,” he reasoned.
Yusuf also denied that the discoms had approached them for any loan. “They have been telling us of a cash flow crisis for the last four months but they have not approached the state government for any loan,” he clarified.
Meanwhile, the opposition BJP has also criticized the attempts by power companies to get a tariff hike and said they would fight tooth and nail to oppose any such move. Leader of the opposition Vijay Kumar Malhotra, in a statement, said that the threat held out by private power companies to the Delhi government saying there should either be a 60% increase in tariff or people should face power cuts is a shocking attempt at blackmail.
Malhotra said that discoms have already started loadshedding for many hours in many areas of Delhi and some colonies have had to face daylong power cuts. The leader of the opposition further said that the threat issued by private discoms was part of an understanding to secure an extraordinary subsidy of Rs 500 crore.