Fulfilling another poll promise, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday announced that an independent agency would be set up in the next couple months to inspect domestic electricity metres and find out if they are running fast. He said the government would randomly test 10,000 electricity meters across the city based on public complaints.
He also announced a helpline number — 9223166166 — on which people can registered their complaints about unscheduled power cuts.
To save people from power cuts, an issue also raised by Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, Kejriwal announced several measures. He said that anyone who has doubts that the electricity meter is running fast can lodge written complaints at the Deputy Commissioner’s office in the area. “As the number of applications is expected to be very high, 10,000 complaints will be randomly picked and their respective meters will be sent for testing. If a majority of the meters are found faulty then all the meters in the city will be checked,” he added.
He said the weekly schedule for power cuts in in various parts of the city would be posted on the website www.delhisldc.org. The government has also decided to impose penalty on power distribution company for unreasonable schedule power cuts.
People can also lodge complaints about unscheduled cuts by sending SMS to 9223166166. “The message can be sent by writing DL POWER followed by the complaint giving details of power cut and the area with the name of the complainant,” the chief minister said.
Kejriwal also promised that the government would try to withdraw theft cases against people who had stop paying power bills since March 23, 2013. “People who stopping paying bills after our ‘asahyog aandolan’ are covered in our movement,” Kejriwal added.
Meanwhile, with the CAG letter for audit reaching the doors of the power distribution companies, the firms have pressed the panic button. These companies have had a tiff with Kejriwal even before he became the chief minister, and now are left with not much choices.
Representatives of the discoms met Delhi power secretary Punit Goyal on Thursday, during which they apprised him of the loss they are suffering. The discoms feel that power tariffs have not increased the way the power purchase costs have. “Every quarter we make a demand for a fuel surcharge hike. But the DERC on all occasions has not raised the surcharge as demanded,” a discom official said.
As power tariffs are not increasing in proportion to the purchase cost, power cuts in Delhi are likely to be a routine affair. Even in the past, the NTPC has threatened to disconnect supply of the discoms.
With the new government’s approach towards the discoms being stern, banks that would give loans to the discoms are also backing out. “The irony is that, allegations are leveled against us but the government is yet to test meters to establish whether or not the meters really run fast. They have labeled us as corrupt without any ground, proof and basis,” a discom officer said.