Govt lets power firms charge 34% more

Announcing a steep hike in power tarrif in the city, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has increased the domestic power tariff by a whopping 34 per cent, which includes a surcharge of eight per cent for the year 2012-13. The revised tariff will come into effect from 1 July.

The increase in domestic tarrif without surcharge will be about 24 per cent. The average increase in all categories, including domestic, commercial and industrial, is 20.87 per cent. No surcharge has been proposed in the New Delhi Municipal Council area, as its government-controlled electricty department has a surplus of about Rs 400 crore.

The surcharge has been applied for the first time to aid the power companies. The hike is meant for the partial liquidation of the accumulated deficit of three DISCOMs. The biggest benficiary from the hike will be Anil Ambani-controlled BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, BSES Yamuna Power Ltd, which stand to benefit to the tune of Rs 4,486 crore, their combined deficit. Tata Power stands to benefit by Rs 2,002 crore, which is its deficit.

The hike comes a day after Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had indicated it, saying that the DERC would have to take a realistic view of the situation while finalising the new rates and the hike was inevitable. According to the DERC chairperson P D Sudhakar, the domestic tariff has been hiked by 24.15 per cent, commercial by 19.49 per cent and industrial by 20.2 per cent.

Sudhakar said, 'After this, no more hike will be imposed in the near future. There was also no interference from the Delhi government in power tariff hike. The cost of purchasing power has also increased from 80 to 90 per cent, therefore we have to impose this hike.'

The last big hike was carried out in August 2011, when the DERC increased the tarrif by 22 per cent. It was followed by five per cent hike in February and two per cent hike in May this year.
All the three private power distribution companies had submitted their petitions for revised tariffs in February this year, arguing that they have been incurring 'huge losses' in absence of a cost reflective tariff structure.

A statement from the chief minister's office said, 'An independent entity DERC decides power tariff and the government will respond after receiving official notification on new power tariff.'

Meanwhile, for the consumers only sop on offer in the upcoming by DERC are a large number of consumer-friendly measures which have also been identified for the benefit of the average consumer.
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