The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has approved a steep tariff hike for power distributed by utilities in the national capital.
For the domestic users, the tariff hike is as high as 24.15%, which comes to Rs 1.01 more per unit of power consumed. For commercial consumption, power tariff will be higher by 19.49%.
DERC has also said that the cost of rising fuel be passed on to the consumer. So, if the price of coal or gas or any other fuel goes up, than the power distribution companies can pass on the hike to the consumers.
This is the fourth tariff hike by DERC. In August 2011, the tariff was hiked by 22%, followed by a 5% hike in February and again in May, when the tariff went up by 2% to adjust the power purchase cost of the four distribution companies.
The three private discoms—BSES Rajdhani Power, BSES Yamuna Power (both of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure) and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd—have been pushing for a hike. The DERC noted the fact that the deficit of these companies went up from Rs 3,288 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 6,488 crore in 2010-11.
DERC has also allowed additional surcharge to reduce the huge deficit. For 2012-13, the surcharge rate has been fixed to 8%, making the effective hike to over 30%. As per DERC, this surcharge will help the three discoms recover the losses they have incurred in the past. However, there will be no surcharge for NDMC as it has got a surplus of Rs 398 crore.
Despite the fact that the tariff has gone up four times in the last one year, several areas in Delhi have been facing severe outages, as PSU hydro power producer NHPC has cut supply of 200MW power to BSES for failing to pay up dues of over Rs 225 crore.
It’s worth mentioning that another PSU thermal power producer, Damodar Valley Corporation, too has threatened to stop 280MW supply to BSES discom if it did not make payment of around Rs 330 crore. Probably this tariff hike will help the private companies to pay up the dues and the situation will improve.