The power regulator in Delhi plans to seek approval of the Election Commission before proceeding on the plea of private power companies to hike electricity rates in the new financial year.
If the power companies’ request is accepted, consumers may be forced to shell out extra charges in their monthly bills, sources said.
Sources in the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) said that in case of any delay on the issue, private power distribution companies (discoms) were likely to protest.The companies did not want to continue supplying power at current rates and were opposed to putting off rate fixation for fiscal 2014-15 till the end of the multi-phase Lok Sabha elections, they said.
The DERC fixes power supply charges for the capital. The process of revising the power tariff usually begins in February or March, but it could not be done so this year because of the drive launched by the Aam Aadmi Party government against discoms.
The announcement of the Lok Sabha elections brought the model code of conduct into effect. The DERC initially planned to seek the Election Commission’s approval to begin the process of computing power tariff for the new financial year.
The regulator later changed its mind after the EC put restrictions on the central government to increase natural gas prices from April 1, sources said. But now the DERC is preparing to approach the EC and invite public suggestions on tariff fixation, sources said.
If the regulator waits for the May 16 Lok Sabha polls results, the introduction of new power rates will not be possible before July or August, sources said.
Any delay in the process of revising power tariff will increase the financial burden on discoms. Power companies have been claiming that they need Rs 1,100 crore to make up for losses.