With the 2013 Delhi elections in mind, the AAP on Friday began its series of exposes against the Sheila Dikshit Delhi government, which the party would present before the public in 51 January Sabhas in different Delhi areas from Saturday. On Friday, AAP targeted Delhi's growing electricity tariff and alleged that it was a result of corruption involving the Sheila Dikshit government and private companies like the two Anil Ambani group companies, BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani. The expose was timely as the electricity prices in Delhi shot up by 3% from Friday.
Exposing the “inbuilt incentives for corruption” in the Private-Public partnership introduced in 2010 when electricity was privatised in Delhi, AAP members Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan argued that privatization did not help the common man as the electricity bills have only shot up in the last three years. Bhushan called the model a “state created private monopoly”, and asked, “ Is this model in public interest at all?”.
Kejriwal alleged that the 2010 Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) chairperson Brijender Singh exposed the fraud committed by private DISCOMs who had been falsely alleging they were incurring losses of Rs630 crores in order to get the electricity tariff increased. In April 2010, Singh even drafted a tariff order saying private DISCOMs were actually making huge profits of Rs. 3577 crores by which logic tariff should actually decrease by 23%. In the order, which AAP accessed through an RTI, Singh even wrote that most likely the tariff will continue to be reduced and could even “ get reduced further in subsequent years”.
However, the Sheila Dikshit government did not let the order be passed. AAP accessed a copy of a letter written by Dixit to the DERC directing them not to issue this tariff order. The letter was written on May 4, 2010, a day before the order was to be issued.
Further, when Singh was replaced by Sudhakar as DERC chairperson, private companies got a free hand to indulge in “frauds, fabrications and forgeries”. Sudhakar, who AAP alleged was Dixit's man, went on to increase the tariff by 22% in 2011 and then 32 % in 2012.
Comparing the DERC under the two chairpersons, Kejriwal cited instances where Sudhakar had ignored forgery by private companies. In 2011, even when Sudhakar detected fraud entries by two Anil Ambani companies who were showing Zero bills for consumers who were actually consuming electricity and paying bills, he did not register an FIR.
He also accepted the logic given by DISCOMS for making changes in sale price in their favour, even when they did not present any records. Further, AAP alleged Anil Ambani companies created artificial losses by buying power at high rates and selling it at much lower rate to its sister concern Reliance energy Trading Ltd. (RETL)
All this showed, AAP alleged, that had Singh's tariff order been implemented, an electricity bill which was 100 in January 2010, should have been less than 77 per month today. However, owing to fraud and corruption, the bill is currently Rs161.
"There should be an audit of DISCOMs by CAG before which tariff should not be increased", Kejriwal demanded adding that if DISCOMs don't cooperate than their licenses be cancelled.