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Delhi: Electricity rates hiked by 7.5% but surcharge removed to reduce bills

Thursday, 17 July 2014 - 8:43pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Power tariff in Delhi was on Thursday hiked by up to 7.5% for domestic consumers but power bills of 80% consumers will come down as the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission withdrew a surcharge of up to 8% for next three months. For commercial consumers, DERC hiked the power rates by up to 11%.

Despite the hikes, the regulator claimed the power bills of 80 per cent of the consumers, whose monthly consumption does not exceed 400 units, will witness some marginal decline as it has subsumed the power purchase adjustment cost (PPAC) for next three months. The PPAC surcharge will be reviewed in November.

The rates for consumption up to 400 units have been hiked by 2.5% and DERC chairperson PD Sudhakar said their bills will actually come down by up to 5% as PPCA has been withdrawn.

"The rates for consumption between 400 to 800 units has been hiked by 7.5% but as PPAC surcharge has been withdrawn, there will be reduction of 0.5% in power bills of these high-end consumers also," Sudhakar said.

The tariff for domestic consumers in the New Delhi Municipal Council areas has been hiked by up to 9.5% but their bills will still be low as compared to other parts as rates were much less earlier. The NDMC directly supplies power to the residents.

For domestic consumption beyond 800 units a month in areas served by the discoms, the hike has been fixed at 15%. Sudhakar said after PPAC adjustment, the hike will be around 7 per cent.
"The monthly tariff for over 80% of the domestic consumers whose consumption does not exceed 800 units will come down as we have subsumed the PPAC surcharge for next three months. The PPAC surcharge will be reviewed in November," Sudhakar said, announcing the new rates which come into effect from today.

Sudhakar said those consuming up to 200 units in a month will have to pay Rs 4 instead of current Rs 3.90 per unit while the rates between 200 to 400 have been increased from Rs 5.80 to Rs 5.95 per unit.
Those rates of per unit between 400-800 have been hiked to Rs 7.30 from existing Rs 6.80 per unit.

A new slab of 800-1200 units has been created, and those consuming power in this category will have to pay Rs 8.10 per unit against current Rs 7. The per unit rate beyond 1200 units has been fixed at Rs 8.75.
The exact rates may vary in areas served by BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, BSES Yamuna Power Ltd and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd as PPAC for each of these three discoms were different.

"If you include those consuming up to 800 units a month, then beneficiary of today's decision will go up to 90 per cent of the consumers," Sudhakar said.

Asked why the DERC did not wait for CAG to file its report into the finances of the discoms, he said the DERC may revise the rates after examining the report by the official auditor.

In its order, the DERC has decided to bring public parks, schools, government hospitals, institutions funded more than 90 per cent by Delhi Government or MCD under domestic category from the commercial category.

In a relief to housing societies, the regulator also decided to charge domestic rates for staircase lighting, compound lighting, water pumps and lifts as against current charge of highest commercial category.

Congress termed the DERC tariff structure as "political gimmick", saying the regulator resorted to withdrawing the PPAC coming under pressure from BJP.

"The DERC is playing into the hands of BJP. If the ruling party at the Centre wanted to provide relief to the consumers, they why they did not cut tariff by 30% as promised by the party ahead of the assembly polls," Chief Spokesperson of DPCC Mukesh Sharma said.

As per DERC figures, the monthly bill for consumption of 200 units in BSES Rajdhani area will come down to Rs 907 from existing Rs 935 after implementation of the new rates. Similarly, for consumption of 400 units, the monthly bill will come down to Rs 2,192 from Rs 2,257.

For consumption of 800 units a month, the bill will be Rs 5,346 from existing rs 5,358. The rates for commercial categories including DMRC and malls will go up by 11%. The rate for DMRC has been fixed at Rs 6.10 per unit against existing Rs 5.50. The rate for supplying power to Delhi International Airport Authority has been fixed at Rs 7.90 against existing Rs 7.10 per unit. For railways, the rate has been fixed at Rs 6.80 per unit as existing Rs 6.10.

The DERC chairman said the time of day metering (ToD) will be mandatory for all the commercial users having load of 50 kilo vault and more. He said those having load between 25KV and 50 KV will also have the option of going for ToD. Under ToD, there are different tariff slabs for power consumption in peak and off-peak hours.

Sudhakar said another 8% surcharge levied to help the discoms recover past dues will continue. The total past dues of the discoms have been estimated at Rs 13,670 crore. In financial year 2014-15, the three discoms have been approved a total revenue of 17,613 crore against their demand of 20,968 crore.

In their tariff application, the discoms had sought significant hike in PPAC. Sudhakar said the DERC will review reintroducing PPAC in November after examining the power rates of generation companies.

A number of Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) strongly reacted to the hike in tariff by DERC and accused the regulator of acting at the behest of private power distribution companies. The RWAs termed the hike by DERC as "arbitrary and illogical" alleging it was "based on fudged accounts of these power companies".

Rajiv Kakria of GK-I RWA slammed the DERC for hiking the tariff. "The decision to increase tariff is completely unjustified," he said. Varinder Arora, Convenor of the Delhi Residents Forum, said "The RWAs had strongly opposed the logic given by discoms to increase power tariff in capital during various public hearing held by DERC. It seems all objections raised by RWAs have been ignored by the regulatory authority.

"The various reasons like inflation cited by DERC for increasing steep power tariff have no relevance as these companies are not selling onions or tomatoes. We demand immediate roll back of power tariff."

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