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Millennium Post

Straying discoms need reining in

The power problem of Delhi refuses to dissipate, despite chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s attempt to bring the national capital region’s three power distribution companies under CAG audit. With the discoms now moving Delhi high court against the order, the battle just got protracted. Reliance Infrastructure-owned BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani as well as Tata Power subsidiary Tata Power Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) have predictably criticised the CM’s decision to bring in greater transparency in the distribution and billing systems of privatised electricity, citing clauses in Companies Act and the possible dilution of the role of the existing regulator Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission. Evidently, these are technical hiccups that the private power companies are trying to ride on, in their bid to keep the crucial decisions on tariff to themselves and their stooges in the DERC.

As has been previously observed by some of the sharpest and intrepid commentators in the opinion pages of this newspaper, the poll-bound UPA government in its efforts to connive with the big corporate houses has been silently introducing technical rejigs in the cost audit rules in the newly created Companies Act to allow the big private sector business houses to legally steal billions of rupees from the public exchequer. Since no other regulatory body, particularly the government appointed ones, has even a fraction of the credibility as the CAG, none of them can be banked upon for an impartial and honest audit of the costs and profits that are shown on paper by these companies. CAG must be brought into play and the plea by the discoms must be summarily dismissed by the Delhi HC. In fact, the extent of mutual nexus between the DERC and the discoms was evident in PD Sudhakar’s ‘reminder’ that tariff fixation is a ‘regulatory issue’ and the only thing left to the CM is merely bearing the cost of state subsidies.
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