Asks why power purchase agreements of discoms have not been made public

Insisting that 22 lakh households in Delhi would be severely impacted by the recent power tariff hike, Delhi BJP on Friday questioned why the power purchase agreements (PPAs) of the discoms have not been made public. They said it was on the basis of these that the discoms are claiming losses and the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) and Delhi Government were allowing power tariff hikes.

“Why are these PPAs not being made public so that everyone can see what the reality is?” Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel asked during a press conference while announcing his party’s decision to start a city-wide agitation against unabated increase in power tariffs that have made power consumption increasingly unaffordable for all sections of society, especially the poor and the middle class.

Mr. Goel said as part of its protest programme, the party will also organise a mass rally at Ramlila Ground on August 11. “We will hold candlelight marches all over the city on Sunday, including in front of Delhi Chief Minister’s residence, and this will be followed by agitation by the district and block-level units of the party in their respective areas.

Terming the power tariff hike “a complete sell-out’’ of the interests of the common people by the Congress Government in Delhi and DERC, Mr. Goel said: “It is shameful that the Government instead of protecting the interests of common people is working in hand in glove with the private distribution companies.’’

Declaring that “Delhi BJP will not tolerate this,’’ he said, “we are very clear about this: instead of increasing power tariff, there is an immediate scope of reducing the power tariff by at least 30 per cent.”

With the recent 5 per cent tariff hike, he said, in the last two years the power rates have increased a whopping 72 per cent, which was “unparalleled and completely unjustified’’.

“In fact, the hike announced on Friday is just tip of the iceberg. The DERC and Delhi Government are getting ready to dole out Rs. 19,505 crore as outstanding regulatory assets (claims by the private discoms, which will be charged from the common people through hike in power tariff). This would translate into a hike in power tariff of more than 200 per cent,’’ he claimed, adding that this hike has only been postponed in the wake of the upcoming Assembly elections.

The BJP leader also spoke of some “key facts’’, which he said showed how hard-earned money was being siphoned out of people’s pockets.

“From 2002-11, the discoms claimed regulatory assets worth Rs. 7,232 crore. Out of this, Rs. 6,919.04 crore was approved by the DERC and Delhi Government. Out of this, last year, Rs. 928 crore was doled out to discoms. This led to 15 per cent tariff hike.’’

From 2011-13, the DERC and Delhi Government accepted claims of a bailout package for discoms for Rs. 12,586 crore. Through 8 per cent surcharge imposed on consumers to dispose off these regulatory assets for year 2012-13, Rs. 1,228 crore have been recovered by discoms.’’

Despite all this, he said: “That still leaves us with Rs. 18,277 crore outstanding claims of discoms from 2002-13. If doling out Rs. 927 crore resulted in 15 per cent tariff hike that clearly implies that to dole out the rest of Rs. 18,277 crore there would be more than 200 per cent hike.’’

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