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LG scraps DERC chairperson’s appointment

The LG’s office said Saini was appointed to the top post of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) in March without Jung’s approval as mandated under the rules and procedures. 

“In the given circumstances, the appointment of Chairperson, DERC, has been declared as void, ab initio,” the LG’s office said in a statement. Jung has also directed the government to initiate the process for selection of the chairperson of the DERC immediately, in accordance with law.

The removal of Saini from the post of DERC is being seen as a huge setback for the initiatives being taken by the AAP government to make electricity distribution companies (Discoms) particularly Reliance-owned BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna; more accountable to the consumers. “The biggest victory of the government has been ‘no hike’ in power tariff for the first since 2011.

 It was only due to an active campaign of the AAP at various forums and a clear stand taken by the government, the DERC which used to hike power tariff on demands of discoms refused to buckle,” said spokesperson of the Delhi government. 

In another major initiative, DERC had directed the discoms not to cut power without prior information to the consumers. The chairperson was also processing the direction of the government to impose fine on the discoms for unscheduled power outages in their areas and the BSES twin sister concerns were likely to face the heat. 

Delhi’s Power Minister Satyendar Jain had directed DERC to include a penalty clause where discoms would be liable to pay Rs 50 per hour per household for the first two hours of outage. As per the provision, the penalty amount was to be adjusted in the bill within three months from the date of penalty. The discoms had to inform the consumers for planned outages regarding maintenance 15 days in advance. 

Besides, the DERC was also weighing direction of the Delhi government to conduct an audit of discoms in case CAG is not allowed to complete the audits. Furthermore, DERC has also mounted pressure on twin BSES companies to pay back outstaying of power generating companies like NTPC and Delhi government’s Delhi Transco Ltd. NTPC’s outstanding on BSES is around Rs 1,000 crore while that of Delhi Transco is Rs 2,000 crore. 

The Delhi government had also recently issued an order to BSES sister concerns to adjust its Rs 8,000 crore outstaying in the electricity bills of the government departments. 
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