New Delhi: The power tariff in the national capital may see a steep rise of up to 20 per cent if Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) accepts a demand of the three private power distribution companies which have strongly sought the hike citing severe fund crunch.
Currently, the DERC is in the process of reviewing the power tariff for 2015-16 and has hinted that it may go up notwithstanding AAP government's firm position against any increase.
Sources said the three private power distribution companies have sought up to 20 per cent hike in tariff to meet rising cost of power procurement.
They said Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd has sought around 20 per cent increase in tariff while BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL) and BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL) have demanded a hike of 19 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.
Power Regulator DERC, a quasi-judicial body, is likely to announce revised power rates next month after taking views of all the stakeholders including resident welfare associations and the discoms.
The AAP government had asked DERC to explain a series of hikes it effected in the last couple of years and indicated to it not to hike the tariff again till the Comptroller and Auditor General completed audit of the discoms.
However, DERC refused to follow Delhi government's diktat and decided to go ahead with the tariff determination process, arguing that the commission was “totally independent” to review the rates.
The private power distribution companies have already conveyed to DERC that “absence of cost reflective tariff and denial of Power Purchase Adjustment Cost (PPAC) for last few months have depleted their financial positions”. The PPAC, which was introduced four years ago to help the discoms adjust their power purchase cost, was discontinued by the regulator five months ago.
As per DERC figures, the two BSES discoms have a revenue gap of around Rs 10,000 crore between 2009-2013. According to power experts, cost of buying power by Delhi discoms has increased by around 300 per cent since 2002 though the retail tariff has risen by only around 90 per cent which has put strain on finances of the discoms.
Officials in Power Department said the three discoms had put the revenue gap till current year to around Rs 27,000 crore.
According to official figures, around 80-90 per cent of total revenue of discoms goes into purchasing power from central and state government owned entities through long term power purchase agreement, at rates determined by the central and state regulators.
The cost of buying power has increased primarily on account of an increase in the input prices of raw material like coal and gas, officials said.
The AAP government is of the view that the power tariff should not be hiked till CAG completes its audit of the discoms. Power tariff was a major issue for AAP during the campaign for Delhi polls.
The Kejriwal government had announced a 50 per cent subsidy on monthly power consumption of up to 400 units in February till the government receives the CAG report. In its first stint, the AAP government had ordered a CAG audit of all the three discoms, claiming that they have been misleading the government and the DERC about their financial position.
The city has seen a series of hike in power tariff in the past few years.The tariff was hiked by 22 per cent in 2011 followed by five per cent hike in February 2012. The tariff was increased by up to two per cent in May 2012 and again by 26 per cent for domestic consumers in July 2012.
It was hiked by up to three per cent in February 2013 and again by five per cent in August last year. It was again enhanced up to seven per cent in November last year.