Even as Delhi’s power regulator gets ready to announce a new tariff plan for the city, non-government organisation Chetna has claimed that the accounts submitted by the three discoms that form the basis of the tariff order are full of discrepancies.
On Friday, the NGO alleged that the discoms have “collectively fleeced about 25 lakh consumers living in flats and having single phase connection to the extent of about Rs.4,500 crore in the last five years due to looping of neutral in the flats one above the other.”
Anil Sood of the NGO also raised a red flag over the claims of TPDDL that 327 distribution transformers showed negative loss while other transformers have captured very high transmission and distribution losses.
“How can there be negative loss and how power can be supplied in an area having 99.98 per cent losses? The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission has approved excess purchase of power in the next three years leading to a loss of about Rs.16,090 crore, which will increase the bill of each consumer by Rs.2 per unit and once we add the carrying cost and operating expenses it would be approximately Rs.3.50 per unit,” he said.
While Mr. Sood claimed that the TPDDL was asked to clarify the issue and has been unable to offer any written explanation, a DERC official said the concept of negative loss was explained to consumers and directions were issued to the discom to make necessary changes in the format for calculation. “Sometimes to ensure round-the-clock supply, the discoms provide supply from one DT and bill the supply from another, that is why this confusion occurs. There is no discrepancy here,” the official said.
The NGO also accused the DERC of failing to ensure competition between the discoms by way of open access. “The DERC has not taken any action in regard to advising the Delhi Government regarding promotion of competition, efficiency and economy in the electricity sector.”
On the issue of discoms’ accounts being doctored, the NGO claimed: “We have analysed the balance sheet submitted by the BRPL with the Registrar of Companies and compared the same with the staff paper published by the DERC for true up exercise for the year 2011-12 and ARR for the year 2013-14. The first and foremost questions that arise are, since the Commission is not capable of analysing the regulatory accounts with financial accounts how is this exercise being done? The chairman had informed us that he is following norms fixed by the Forum of Regulators, but there are no such norms on the regulator’s website,” said Mr. Sood.
The NGO also claimed that the loss levels disclosed in the director’s report are at variance with the loss levels accepted by the DERC, which means the authenticity of information disclosed in the director’s report is questionable.
“Due to difference of loss levels declared by directors of BRPL and loss levels approved by DERC the consumers have been fleeced by about Rs.220 crore on this count only as the DERC should have recovered this amount from BRPL,” said Mr. Sood.
“On one hand the Commission has admitted that BRPL and BYPL have not maintained asset registers properly and the description, specifications of the asset on ground does not match with the assets on ground, then how has the capital expenditure been approved all along and on what basis has the depreciation accepted,” he went on to question.
The NGO went on to claim that the net worth of BRPL eroded to the extent of 50 per cent cash losses in the current year as well as in preceding year 2007-08 as per the audit report by M/s. T. R. Chaddha & Company. “If this is true then why have the agreement with the company not been terminated, since in such a case it should have been referred to Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR).”
The NGO’s claim that a prudence check has not been carried out for several years and that the DERC has been “selective” in inviting consumers for public hearings, held prior to the tariff fixation exercise, was refuted by the DERC. “We have invited all those who had indicated their desire to be part of the hearing. The entire process of segregating consumers based on the category has been done to streamline the exercise,” a DERC official said.