Power tariff leaves Kejriwal cold

The Delhi government has lowered power tariff, giving the much sought-after relief to residents of the capital.

The announcement came after protests by Arvind Kejriwal and his supporters outside the BSES office, one of Delhi’s power utility companies, where they were demanding rollback of the 26 per cent hike in power tariff that came into effect on July 1.

During his agitation in early October, Kejriwal had asked residents not to pay power bills till the tariff was reduced.

Under the new rates announced by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) on Monday, a domestic consumer will be charged Rs 3.50 per unit for the first 200 units, and consumers with a monthly usage ranging between 200 and 400 units will pay Rs 5.50 per unit.  The rate will increase to Rs 6.50 per unit for consumption between 400 and 600 units.
Kejriwal alleged that the government had done a partial rollback. He said he would keep protesting till a complete rollback. “Till the usage of 200 units, there is absolutely no relief. Then how is it helping the common man?” he asked.

The tariff has been hiked four times in the last 10 months. The regulatory commission had hiked the tariff by 22 per cent for all categories of consumers in August 2011, followed by a five per cent increase in February and two per cent in May, to adjust the power purchase cost of distribution companies.

The population served by Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd started getting steep power bills, which were higher by 27 per cent, while the increase in bills in the areas managed by BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd was 25 per cent.
The DERC had earlier said that the combined deficit of the three discoms had been estimated at Rs 6,000 crore, and there was no alternative but to hike the tariff.

New slab

However, in its statement on Monday, it said: “While examining these representations, the commission observed that under the new slab structure introduced in the tariff schedule dated 26.6.2012 for FY 2012-13, some people who were consuming slightly more than 200 units experienced a disproportionately higher tariff increase compared to other consumers. This disproportionate increase persists, though to a decreasing degree, till consumption up to 400 units.”

The regulatory commission said the proposed rationalisation would benefit consumers in the range of 200 to 400 units “where the percentage increase in bills will come down on an average by approximately 15 per cent.”

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