A committee, formed by the AAP government to bring out a white paper on Delhi’s power sector, has recommended removal of the Chairman and members of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), accusing them of “failing” to protect consumer interest and favouring discoms. The one-member committee chaired by former DERC chairman Bijendra Singh has observed that “there should have been a case for reduction in electricity tariff during the years 2011 to 2013 as nearly 80 per cent of cost of distribution of electricity is power purchase cost”.
Mr Singh was tasked to bring out a white paper on the power situation in the national capital prior to the AAP government assuming office.The committee has submitted the white paper to the government and it will be soon presented before the cabinet for discussion.
The white paper, a copy of which is with PTI, states that following numerous billing-related complaints, the Delhi government had asked DERC whether the billing software of discoms was got checked from an expert by them, the regulatory body refused to reply saying that it is a “quasi-judicial autonomous statutory” body.
“Refusal of DERC to give a reply on merits clearly shows that before ordering hefty increases in tariff and creating a large regulatory asset which had the effect of virtually more than doubling the tariff from 2011 to 2013, it did not verify genuineness of the costly purchases of short-term power by the discoms which were prima facie at prices much higher than market prices,” the committee has observed.
Mr Singh’s report also says that from financial year 2011 onwards, the average yearly rates of short-term electricity purchased by the discoms has been “consistently much higher, often by more than 50 per cent” as compared to the average yearly rate of electricity sold in the Indian Energy Exchange.
The committee has concluded that it is under consideration of the government of NCT of Delhi, as to whether the “serious omissions” on the part of DERC which resulted in its failure to protect consumer interest constitute “misconduct” within the meaning of section 90(2)(f) of the Electricity Act-2003, calling for “action for removal of the Chairman and Members who were parties to the tariff orders passed in the years 2011 to 2013”.
Sources in the government said it will examine the white paper before taking a call on the recommendations. “Government is examining the white paper and is non-committal about totally accepting the recommendations,” they said.