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Suspend licences of discoms: Govt to regulator

Govt asks chief secretary and regulator to appoint officers so that consumers are not caught napping.

The letter also mentions that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has already “issued the necessary instructions” to the chief secretary. The letter also mentions that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has already “issued the necessary instructions” to the chief secretary.

Upping the ante over the standoff between the NTPC and the power discoms, the Delhi government on Monday asked the city’s power regulator to suspend the licences of the two BSES discoms “for their alleged paucity of funds and their likely failure to supply power to consumers for long hours”.

In case the licences are suspended, the government asked the chief secretary and the regulator, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), to appoint officers “so that… the consumers and the government are not caught napping”.

“The Delhi government has taken a serious view of the alleged paucity of funds with the discoms and their likely failure to supply power to consumers for long hours, and has written to the DERC to work out a suitable mechanism to address the situation,” a statement issued by the chief minister’s office stated.

In a letter to the chairman of DERC on Monday, Secretary (Power) Puneet K Goel cited the  Electricity Act 2003, reminding the DERC of its duty “to take care of the financials of the discoms by providing adequate tariff under Section 86”.

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“It is presumed the DERC has done so. That the stand of the discoms — that due to financial difficulties, they will be unable to supply power to consumers of Delhi for long hours — calls for revocation of their licences by the DERC under Section 19(d) of the Electricity Act, 2003,” Goel said.

Reached for his comments, DERC chairman P D Sudhakar said he had not received the letter yet.

A BSES spokesperson said the company was not aware of any such development. “The discoms are a 51:49 joint venture with the Delhi government. We are deeply committed to the consumers of Delhi, and have served them for over 10 years and reduced power losses to the tune of nearly Rs 35,000 crore, which have accrued as savings to the Delhi government,” the spokesperson said.
The power secretary asked the DERC to “definitely find out from the two discoms in the next two or three days whether they are going to stop a substantial part of the supply of power to the consumers of Delhi beyond February 10”.

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“In case the discoms continue with their stand, the DERC may not have an alternative but suspend their licences immediately as a first step… Extensive blackouts in the capital city of the country due to financial difficulties of the two discoms is not acceptable.”
The letter also mentions that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has already “issued the necessary instructions” to the chief secretary.

“The DERC may immediately take these steps or work out any other alternate suitable mechanism to address the situation.”
The two Anil Ambani Reliance-backed BSES discoms, BRPL and BYPL, have alleged that they do not have adequate funds because of which they have been unable to pay the NTPC for purchase of power. The NTPC, a major supplier of power to Delhi’s discoms, maintains that it will not be able to supply power beyond February 10, unless payment for the purchase of power is forthcoming from these discoms.

Govt yet to pay discoms for subsidy

Despite reminders and the first round of 50 per cent subsidy on power tariff already offered to consumers for the month of January, the Delhi government is yet to pay the subsidy amount to the power discoms. The government had earlier said the subsidy payment to the discoms would be adjusted against their outstanding dues. The government had, on the other hand, announced a payment of Rs 30 crore to the Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL).

First published on: 04-02-2014 at 03:02 IST
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