Despite the odd shower, citizens of Delhi are well aware that the summer months are upon us. During these months, the supply of water and electricity are two issues that cause most concern among Delhi’s residents. On Sunday, the Aam Aadmi Party-led government directed Reliance-owned BSES power distribution companies to immediately clear dues of nearly Rs 6,000 crore to Delhi Transco Limited, the state transmission utility for the national capital, and two state-run power generation companies.
Officials in the state government have said that both BSES units have been ignoring notices by the Power Department to the pay the dues and it may now consider “punitive action” again the two discoms. In its defence, however, BSES has maintained that it was going through a difficult financial situation, as it has not been allowed to recover around Rs 10,000 crore in losses due to increase in purchase cost and low tariff.
According to power experts, cost of buying power by Delhi discoms has increased by around 300 per cent since 2002 though the retail tariff has risen by only around 90 per cent, which has resulted in accumulation of unrecovered revenues. What’s worse, according to Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission figures, the private discoms operating in the city have a revenue gap of whopping Rs 14,000 crore. Without a final report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on the matter, “punitive action” against the discoms may end up being counterproductive.
Although reports have emerged that power discoms have been uncooperative during the audit process, nonetheless the Delhi government must await the CAG’s final report before it takes any decision. In the midst of all this, however, it is the common man, who ends up paying the price. Both discoms under the Reliance-owned BSES supply power in 70 per cent areas in Delhi. The situation must be resolved at the earliest, before Delhi’s populace is left to fend for itself in the coming months. All government institutions involved in the matter must step up and deliver for the common man.