Giving in to public pressure, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission proposes to restore the original power consumption slabs for domestic category consumers with retrospective effect. The proposal is expected to soften the impact of the revised power tariff announced this past July.
The Commission announced on Wednesday that the original slab structure of 0-200, 201-400 and 400-and-above units will be restored with effect from July 1, 2012, the date from which the revised tariffs became applicable.
While announcing the revised rates, the Commission had decided to rejig the slabs by allowing 0-200, 0-400 and 400-and-above consumption slabs and had done away with the 201-400 unit slab.
The revised slabs and billing pattern had led to an uproar by consumers who complained of a more than 60 per cent increase in their electricity bills. Consumers using over 200 units and below 400 units of power and billed at Rs.4.80 per unit in the 0-400 units slab as per the revised structure saw a 67 per cent increase in their bills. With the restoration of the original slabs, the increase will be halved to 31 per cent, said a senior Commission official.
Apart from restoration of slabs, the Commission has proposed that the tariff now will be Rs.3.70 per unit for 0-200 consumption category, Rs.5.70 for 201-400 category and Rs.6.40 for consumption over 400 units.
“We received petitions from consumers complaining that the revised slab structure had led to a sharp increase in their bills. We have proposed that the original slab pattern be restored with retrospective effect and whatever excess charges the consumers have paid between July-September be adjusted by the discoms against future consumption,” said the official.
The Commission will hold a public hearing on October 8 to seek comments of stakeholders and consumers. It will also conduct a public hearing the same day to seek objections and comments on proposed DERC (Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum and Ombudsman) Regulations, 2011.
Even as it maintained that the proposal to restore the slabs was mooted in “public interest”, consumer representatives said they will press for more “consumer-friendly” decisions.
“Ideally the consumers should be charged nominal amounts for consumption of the first 300 units because we are being made to pay for what is actually deficiency of services. Take, for instance, the use of water pumps. If the Government had been supplying water at the correct pressure we would not have to use pumps to draw water first to an underground reservoir and then to an overhead tank. Similarly, if the water was clean and fit for use, we would not be required to use water purification appliances. Invertors that are used because there is no 24x7 supply of energy use 60 units of power a month. The energy consumed by using appliances needed to overcome the deficiency of service should be taken into account,” said Rajiv Kakria, chairman of the E-Block Greater Kaliash–I Residents’ Welfare Association.