Citing Covid-19, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has decided against hiking power tariff, which should come as a relief for lakhs of consumers in the city. The monthly bills will, however, witness a marginal rise, with the commission hiking the pension surcharge, one of the components of the bill, from 3.80% to 5%.
“Congratulations to the people of Delhi. On the one hand, where electricity rates are increasing year after year across the country, in Delhi, for the sixth consecutive year, electricity rates were not increased and in some areas, rates were also reduced. It is historical. This is happening because you formed an honest government in Delhi,” CM Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet.
The surcharge is used to pay pensions to employees of the erstwhile Delhi Vidyut Board.
For example, an average household with a 2KW sanctioned load consuming 440 units had to pay around Rs 2,400 under the tariff order being replaced by the new one from September 1. Now, for the same amount of consumption, the monthly bill of the household will rise by Rs 20 due to the surcharge hike.
The 8% surcharge which goes towards recovery of the accumulated deficit of the discoms was kept unchanged by the commission.
Delhi has not witnessed a substantial power tariff hike since 2015, when the AAP took over the reins of the capital. In 2018, fixed charges were hiked only to be reduced in 2019, ahead of the assembly polls.
While the DERC cited Covid-19 in keeping power tariff unchanged, discoms BSES and TPDDL, which have around 43 lakh and 18 lakh consumers respectively, had demanded a hike, claiming mounting losses owing to the pandemic.
DERC chairperson Justice (retd) S S Chauhan told The Indian Express, “To provide some relief to the public in the wake of the pandemic, we have decided to not hike tariffs, even though the discoms have faced losses.”
He said the increase in the number of pensioners was the cause for the increase in surcharge. “The number of pensioners has increased this year. This will lead to a very marginal increase in the bills. As per a Supreme Court judgment, the discoms must pay the pensions.”
The commission has waived off the 20 per cent surcharge under ToD tariff for commercial enterprises and public utilities in the tariff schedule released for the month of September, as a one-time relief to businesses reeling under the impact of Covid-19.
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