Dikshit misleading people on power tariff, says opposition

'Several states offer electricity at cheaper rate than in capital'

The war of words between Congress and BJP on the power tariff issue escalated on Thursday with the Opposition accusing Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit of ‘misleading’ people by claiming that electricity rates in Delhi were the lowest in the country.

Slamming Dikshit over her statements, Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel said the power tariff in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh was much lower than what it was in Delhi.

“The chief minister is misleading the people of Delhi by making false claims. Power tariff in states like Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Haryana are much lower as compared to Delhi. Cities like Chandigarh and Dehradun, too, have lower power tariffs,” Goel said.

Ridiculing BJP’s promise of slashing power tariffs by 30 per cent if it came to power, Dikshit had last week said the rates in Delhi were the ‘lowest’ in the country.

She had added that BJP would cut tariff by 30 per cent by curtailing the supply. BJP has been attacking Dikshit on the power tariff issue upon allegations that her government has been allowing private power distribution companies to exploit citizens by charging high electricity rates.

“Delhi government has been colluding with discoms to fleece the people of Delhi. The Congress government has allowed a hike of over 72 per cent in power tariff in the last couple of years and a more than 300 per cent hike in rates over the last 10 years,” said Goel.

The power tariff in the city was hiked by 22 per cent in 2011 followed by a 5 per cent increase in February last year.

The tariff was hiked by up to 2 per cent in May last year and again by 26 per cent for domestic consumers in July 2012. The tariff was hiked again by up to 3 per cent in February of this year and again by 5 per cent in July.

Following the 5 per cent hike in tariff by Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), Delhi government had announced a subsidy for those limiting their monthly consumption to 400 units.

Alleging collusion between her government and the discoms, the BJP leader also asked Dikshit as to why her government had restrained DERC in May 2010 from announcing a cut in tariff by almost 25 per cent.

“The Chief Minister exposed herself in 2010 when her government arbitrarily stopped DERC from reducing power tariffs by nearly 25 per cent. This clearly established the hand-in-glove nature of understanding between the discoms and the Congress government,” he alleged.

In an unusual move, Delhi government had on May 4, 2010, forced DERC not to announce a new tariff order after apparently coming under pressure from the three discoms which complained that their demand for increasing power rates had not been considered by the regulator while finalising the new tariff structure.

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