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Delhi Power Minister Saytendra Jain on Friday said electricity has been kept expensive deliberately and there was a need to reduce tariffs to raise consumption and fully utilise the nation’s generation capacity of 280 GW.
“Power has been made costly deliberately. It is the most opaque sector. If you want to increase consumption of electricity then you have to reduce the tariff,” the minister said on the sidelines of Power Ministers’ conference.
India has a total installed power generation capacity of 280 GW as against a peak demand of 140 GW, he said observing that “people need power but they don’t use it because they cannot pay”.
On the issue of frequent power cuts in Delhi, he said: “We have 150 per cent electricity availability in Delhi but the problem is local faults. Privatisation was done here so that they (discoms) bring capital and create a world class system. What were they doing for the past 14 years?”
On the missives to discoms supplying power in Delhi, Jain said, “If you have not made the investment then where did the money go. CAG has talked about siphoning of funds. They have pointed out about Rs 8,000 crore. It is presumed that if something is given to private sector then it will work. This is crony capitalism.”
About Delhi government’s further plans, he said, “We will talk to them (discoms). But we have 49 per cent stake. They have 51 per cent and have control over discoms.”
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Jain had earlier pulled up BSES-run discoms owned by Anil Ambani-headed Reliance ADAG for “atrocious” performance and “unprecedented” power outages in Delhi. In a letter to Ambani, the minister asked him to come down to the national capital next week for a meeting saying discoms supplying to nearly 70 per cent of the city have started “fudging” data to show improvement following stern warnings from the government.
BSES entities BRPL (BSES Rajdhani Power Limited) and BYPL (BSES Yamuna Power Limited) supply electricity to around 12 lakh and 16 lakh customers in Delhi.
The national capital’s power sector was privatised in 2002.