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From April, higher gas prices, no subsidies

Nearly a quarter of the capital’s electricity is produced in gas-based power plants.

New Delhi |
February 18, 2014 5:01:57 am
The AAP government’s waiver for electricity bill defaulters hangs in the balance. (Express Archive) The AAP government’s waiver for electricity bill defaulters hangs in the balance. (Express Archive)

While the Aam Aadmi Party’s policy to reduce power tariff by 50 per cent (up to 400 units per month) is as short-lived as their government in Delhi, the impending hike in gas prices in April is likely to further hit consumers.

The AAP government had announced power subsidy only for two months, ending March.

The status of the other announcement made by the AAP government in Delhi — 50 per cent rebate to over 24,000 power bill defaulters, who were justified as “AAP sympathisers” for being part of their ‘bijli-paani andolan’ — is now in limbo. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal resigned on Friday, without getting the subsidy amount of Rs 6 crore accounted for in the Appropriation Bill cleared by the Delhi Assembly.

“Even though the announcement was cleared by the last Cabinet, financial approval was not taken. With President’s rule in place in Delhi now, this waiver for party supporters will depend on the Lieutenant-Governor or the next government, whenever the state elections are held,” a senior government official said.

Further, with gas prices expected to increase from April this year, the power consumer in Delhi will have to bear the additional burden of increase in power purchase cost for distribution companies from the gas-based power generating units. Of a total power allocation of 5,000 MW, Delhi’s allocation through gas-based plants is 1,255 MW.

Anticipating an increase in the cost of power purchase from these plants, power discom Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) has written to the Power department, requesting the government to reallocate Delhi’s power share through these gas-based power plants.

“It is earnestly requested that the power from the (six gas-based) plants be reallocated to needy states for FY 2014-15 and the same is pursued with the Ministry of Power, GOI, accordingly. If the reallocation of power from gas stations is not done, the same would result in increase of the tariffs by 28 paise per unit for FY 2014-15…” the letter by Sanjay Banga, Head of the Power Management Group for TPDDL, said.

Delhi has a total allocation of 1,255 MW through the six Central and Delhi generation plants — Dadri Gas (Central NTPC plant, 88 MW); Auriya (Central NTPC plant, 70 MW); Pragati (Delhi plant, 320 MW); Bawana (Delhi plant, 472 MW); Anta (Central NTPC plant, 43 MW); GT (Delhi plant, 262 MW). Of the 1,255 MW allocation, 237 MW has been allocated to TPDDL, while the rest goes to the two Reliance-backed BSES discoms.

“The power from these gas plants is received at a rate of around Rs 3.49 to Rs 4.15 per unit, which when compared with the cost of power from other plants, is on the higher side. It may be noted that doubling of gas prices from April 2014 will further increase the cost of power from these plants by around 66 per cent over the present cost… shall result in burdening the consumers of Delhi further with an additional financial impact of Rs 233 crore, which shall translate in to an increase of 28 paise per unit for the tariff in FY ‘14-15,” read the letter dated January 29, 2014.

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