Kejriwal waives 10-month power bill default and theft, BJP calls it anarchy

Kejriwal said he had begun his “civil disobedience movement” against “inflated” power bills by going on a fast from March 23, 2013.

New Delhi | Updated: January 11, 2014 6:37 am
Kejriwal said he had begun his “civil disobedience movement” against “inflated” power bills by going on a fast from March 23, 2013.  (PTI) Kejriwal said he had begun his “civil disobedience movement” against “inflated” power bills by going on a fast from March 23, 2013. (PTI)

In what officials said was a complete violation of the Electricity Act, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday announced exemption for people who had defaulted on electricity bills and withdrawal of cases against those booked for power theft since March 23 last year when he launched the AAP campaign against power discoms in the city.

No action would be taken against the defaulters and pilferers since they were “part of the andolan” and the amount due from them would be paid by the Delhi government, Kejriwal said. The regulator reacted cautiously, saying information from the office of the chief minister was still to reach them. “I will not comment on the legal aspect,” DERC chairperson P Sudhakar said. But Shakti Sinha, who was Delhi secretary for power and finance until August 2013, said Kejriwal’s announcement was “illegal as per the 2003 Electricity Act”.

“It has to be understood that power tariff can be brought down by the regulator after following a due process. There is the DERC for redressal of complaints. And then there are courts to settle disputes,” Sinha said. All electricity bills make it clear: “The connection shall be liable for disconnection on non-payment of all dues, including arrears of due dates, after notice as per Section 56-1 of the Electricity Act 2003.”

Officials said that of the nearly 45 lakh connections in the city under three power distribution companies, an estimated 10,000-12,000 consumers have been defaulting on electricity dues “continuously” since March last year. Connections of those in the lowest consumption slab of 0-200 units have not been severed.

BJP leader Harsh Vardhan said Kejriwal’s announcement was “a sign of very bad governance… a sign of anarchist rule”.
“If today, when the BJP is not in governance, we tell people that if they stop paying bills under AAP rule, we will bring down bills by 50 per cent when we come to power, how will they feel… There is a difference between shouting on the streets and ruling,” Harsh Vardhan said.

Earlier, explaining why he had a cut-off date for defaulters, Kejriwal said he had begun his “civil disobedience movement” against “inflated” power bills by going on a fast from March 23, 2013. “We had asked people to stop paying electricity bills if the bills did not come down, and re-connect if power connections were cut by the then government. We had assured them that all such cases would be exempted if we formed the government,” he said.

“All who stopped paying power bills during this period will be forgiven, and electricity theft cases against them will also be exempted because we assume they were part of our movement. People who have been habitually not paying power bills for years will not be included in this category. We will announce the final details of this project soon,” he said.

Asked if he was burdening the Delhi government to fulfil his electoral ambitions, Kejriwal said: “You can interpret it as you wish… but a burden on who? Who is the government? Woh janata ka andolan tha, aur yeh janata ki sarkar hai (it was a people’s movement and this is a government of the people). If people of Delhi were unhappy with an issue and we fought the election promising to resolve it, then it is the duty of the new government to resolve this grievance of the people,” he said.

To a query on why taxpayers should be paying for those who had defaulted on electricity bills, Kejriwal said: “If I order a Rs 450-crore helicopter for myself after becoming chief minister and the taxpayers have to pay for it, then that will be a burden. I am not asking for any perks for myself. Whatever exemption I am giving is for the people… as it is, there are only 1.5 crore taxpayers in this country who pay for governance of the whole country.”

He announced a slew of measures, including a new number 09223166166 where people can SMS details of power outages in their area, with the initial key of DL_Power followed by details of their area and time of outage. “This well help the government get some data on power outages in the city. We are also trying to get data from discoms on power outages from January 1this year and last year, so we can compare outages during our government and the Congress government,” Kejriwal said, adding that discoms had been asked to put up details of scheduled power outages on the website http://www.delhisldc.org.

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  1. Y
    yush
    Jan 12, 2014 at 7:49 am
    did not expect this from aap
    Reply
    1. A
      akhilesh
      Jan 12, 2014 at 11:47 pm
      Mr. Kejriwal's most ardent supporters would not approve of this move. In this world nothing is free. Somebody else is going to pay for it. Moreover, this becomes a habit and all netas start emulating these things in the hope of garnering some votes. One of the reasons why Indian people still remain poor.
      Reply
      1. A
        Arvind Deodhar
        Jan 11, 2014 at 1:56 am
        Is it consutionally correct to provoke the people to break the law? Then what happens about the oath he has taken to protect the consution? He should be sacked for creating an anarchy!
        Reply
        1. A
          avi
          Jan 11, 2014 at 12:52 am
          Seems its going to be free for all under Kejriwal's AAP. Eventually it will help Congress / BJP to return !
          Reply
          1. W
            WilyMaratha
            Jan 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm
            Well said...only people of AP know the true pain of misgovernance and I pray Delhites will realize it before it takes a bad turn
            Reply
            1. F
              flamingdragon
              Jan 12, 2014 at 5:33 am
              Kejriwal is going bonkers...promoting anarchy..Congrats AAP supporters
              Reply
              1. D
                Danger Don
                Jan 13, 2014 at 7:33 am
                Too good a logic... when the industry comes with all this free stuff... people will not get any benefit... they will not get any job... that industry will not pay any tax to government when they start producing... because of one big industry other small industries will not get any profit... government is giving this benefit without any law.. without any procedure... idhar lokashahi nahin hain na... Modi raja hain... jo wo bolata hain baaki government ke log laws dekhe bina karate jaate hain... 5 saal me election to bas dikhave ke liye hote hain... barabar na??? aray AAP valon... kabhi to socha karo...
                Reply
                1. D
                  Danger Don
                  Jan 13, 2014 at 7:34 am
                  corruption bhi aa jayega... thoda time to do unako... itani jaldi itana kuchh expect mat karo unase... kitana load aata hain un pe pata hain??
                  Reply
                  1. F
                    focus
                    Jan 11, 2014 at 2:06 am
                    more nonsense from AAP politburo head, this is similar to dictators staging a coup and then pardoning people in jail to generate por support
                    Reply
                    1. V
                      vorpal
                      Jan 15, 2014 at 8:23 am
                      Kejriwal had earlier tampered with power connections with his own hands, and aided and abetted in power thefts. He should have been arrested, charge sheeted and tried for his crime. Now he is repeating the crime by waiving off "unpaid electricity dues". If he is so friendly towards these power thieves, let him pay the dues from HIS POCKET i.e., even the AAP funds cannot be used for the purpose, because the REAL "aam aadmi", NOT THE PRETENDERS, have donated to the funds.
                      Reply
                      1. I
                        Ittiam
                        Jan 11, 2014 at 3:16 am
                        Is this the revolution that AAP planning to bring.. God save the country
                        Reply
                        1. G
                          Gautam
                          Jan 11, 2014 at 1:50 pm
                          AAP is basically Congress minus corruption. They don't mind bankrupting the economy by giving out abundant freebies for votes.
                          Reply
                          1. A
                            anonymouskar
                            Jan 14, 2014 at 3:02 am
                            But the USP of AAP was they are a party with a difference.
                            Reply
                            1. G
                              GreatAndhra
                              Jan 13, 2014 at 5:35 am
                              Go on.....support urban communists.
                              Reply
                              1. I
                                Indian for
                                Jan 12, 2014 at 5:27 am
                                Modi gives free electricity, Free land, free g (not loan but grant) to industrialists which is 100 times more that what AAP is giving to all common man put together. Why are we opposing only AAP. When Modi gives free things to industrialist, we say - He has to give because he needs industrialist to support his election campaign and without corruption it is not possible to beat corrupt congress. This is Hypocrisy. Why it is ok to give free things to industrialist and not OK to give it to common man? We should have same rules for everyone.
                                Reply
                                1. G
                                  Gangu true
                                  Jan 11, 2014 at 2:49 am
                                  Great way to go. Those who oppose should file a case against the Kejriwal government.
                                  Reply
                                  1. M
                                    maddy
                                    Jan 11, 2014 at 9:00 am
                                    so basically people who have a lil bit of sincerity and pay thier dues are stupids. while those goondas who dont pay their bills get to save their money as the govt wil pay for them
                                    Reply
                                    1. K
                                      krishna rao
                                      Jan 11, 2014 at 3:25 am
                                      Nothing matters -legal or illegal - want enrollment and votes - will ultimately in disaster
                                      Reply
                                      1. A
                                        Anmol Pandey
                                        Jan 13, 2014 at 7:04 am
                                        The current move will only deteriorate the financial health of the power utilities in the near future, moreover this will send a wrong message to other states facing such crisis, I believe AAP will form a new consumer category of "AAP supporters" & fully subsidize their power bills similar to categories like "BPL" or "agricultural consumer" prevalent in other states.
                                        Reply
                                        1. A
                                          Anmol Pandey
                                          Jan 13, 2014 at 8:14 am
                                          The current move will only deteriorate the financial health of the power utilities in the near future, moreover this will send a wrong message to other states facing such crisis, I believe AAP will form a new consumer category of "AAP supporters" & fully subsidize their power bills similar to categories like "BPL" or "agricultural consumer" prevalent in other states.
                                          Reply
                                          1. V
                                            Vikram Babu
                                            Jan 12, 2014 at 1:51 am
                                            brilliant argument, cant agree more with you
                                            Reply
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