Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday fulfilled his second major election promise and cut power tariff by half to benefit an estimated 28 lakh households. Kejriwal said that those consuming up to 400 units — 0 to 200 units and 201 to 400 units — of electricity a month would get 50% subsidy. The new power rates will go into effect from Wednesday — January 1.
This would benefit some 28 of the 34 lakh households in Delhi, he said after a cabinet meeting, describing the intended beneficiaries as the poor and the middle class.
The decision is expected to cost Rs61 crore to the government exchequer.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government ordered an audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General into the finances of the capital’s three private power distribution companies, an issue on which the ruling AAP had led street protests in the past.
For the Reliance-led power distribution companies BRPL and BYPL the new year may not be a happy one. The company owns the government Rs4,500 crore. “This money will be adjusted in the subsidy that the government will give the consumers in areas where BSES distributes power,” said Kejriwal. The government will have to pay Rs61 crore to the TDDDPL for the subsidy.
TDDDPL supplies power to north Delhi.
This is a second blow to the discoms as Delhi Electricity Regulatory Authority had last week turned down the proposal of discoms for a hike in the fuel surcharge.
A CAG audit into the accounts of the discoms has been pending since 2011. When an audit into the accounts of the discoms was ordered, the discoms moved court saying being private companies they cannot be audited by the CAG. The matter is still subjudice with the Delhi High Court.
Now with the government ordering the audit the discoms have been given time till the noon of January 1 to file their objections. “We will have the objections from the discoms by Wednesday afternoon and a final decision on the CAG audit will be taken by evening,” said Kejriwal.
The discoms also said their accounts are audited by CAG impaneled auditors and the report is submitted to the Regulator regularly. Also, the audited reports are in the public domain. The TDDPL which has confirmed that it will file its reply by the noon of January 1 said, “We will go by the law of the land and will file our reply to the government,” said the officer of TDDPL.
Kejriwal used the occasion to target the Congress government yet again. “I have participated in the public hearing meetings of the DERC, where in we were told that a CAG audit of discoms is not possible since the matter is in the court. It is only now that I have learn that the government could have got an audit done.”
After the discoms have filed their objections, the Delhi government will consult the CAG on whether or not an inquiry can be sought on the issue.