Consumers already bearing the brunt of increased power bills after the subsidies announced by Aam Aadmi Party government ended last month are in for another shock this July. The power regulator is in the process of deciding on the discoms’ plea to increase the adjustable fuel surcharge and the power purchase adjustment cost to be more “holistic and reflective of the purchasing cost”.
Through a series of public hearing and scrutiny of objections and comments by consumers, a process likely to be over by July, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) will examine the quantum of the hike, which if approved may end up doubling the burden on consumers.
According to Power Department sources, the absence of subsidy since this financial year already affects about 80 per cent of the Capital’s 34.61 lakh power consumers who use between 200 and 400 units of electricity. For instance consumers who were paying Rs.970 per month for about for 400 units during the AAP government, will pay about Rs.1,940 now.
Importantly, only this past week the power regulator refused to increase the PPAC by 14 to 32 per cent as demanded by the three disoms -- Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited and Reliance-backed BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna Private Limited. While asking the companies to continue with the PPAC rates of the last quarter which is about 6-8 per cent, the DERC had said the annual tariff revision order for the financial year 2014-15 is expected soon.
Discom officials told The Hindu that they requested for fuel surcharge hike to map the revenue gap. “The cost of buying power from generating companies has increased by around 300 per cent in the last two years while the power tariff, in the corresponding period, has risen by around 70 per cent,” said a discom official.
“This non-cost reflective retail tariff has led to a huge build-up of future receivables (regulatory assets) to the tune of over Rs.19,500 crore, impacting the sustainability of operations of the Delhi discoms,” he added.
The power regulator on the other hand said that it has to “balance” conflicting concerns and interests while deciding about the tariff revision. DERC chairman P.D. Sudhakar told The Hindu: “Through public hearing and scrutiny of all the details presented by the discoms the final decision is expected by July to decide on the discoms’ requests for fuel surcharge hike.”