Left to brace a chilly winter without power, several residents’ welfare associations across the city have demanded compensation in their monthly electricity bills.

On Friday, the RWAs said since power companies have been carrying out load-shedding for several hours everyday, the residents should be offered compensation for the duration of the power cuts.

The RWA’s were also critical of the Delhi administration’s decision to issue “full-page advertisements boasting 100 per cent power by the Delhi Government”.

“Recently the Delhi Government had issued full-page advertisements in the national dailies claiming Delhi is the only State in the country providing 100 per cent power to residents. This claim had fallen flat on the very first day of the New Year. The discoms should be fined for regular power cuts and consumers should be compensated with lower bills,” said Anil Bajpai, president of Delhi Residents’ Forum and RWA Federation, Delhi East.

The discoms’ explanation that the power cuts have been triggered by a coal shortage has failed to cut ice with the consumers. “When we ask the discoms, they keep blaming [power cuts] on shortage of coal and gas as well as power grid failure. When we ask the Government [for explanations] it keeps blaming the weather,” said Rahul Suri of South Extension Part-I RWA.

S.P. Chauhan, a resident of Garhi, near East of Kailash, said the area has to bear the brunt of unscheduled outage three to four times a day. Similar complaints were reported by RWAs in Greater Kailash, Mayur Vihar and Ram Vihar.

Angry with the discoms and the Government for not being able to live up to the promise of a 24x7 power supply, residents complained that while tariffs have gone up substantially, there has been little improvement in the supply and services.

“Residents are being forced to pay due to wrong policies of the Government and fudged accounts shown by the power distribution companies, which are making huge profits. The Government should increase the power tariffs in the VIP NDMC area first and bring it to par with the rest of the city,” said Mr. Bajpai.

Admitting there has been a shortage of power, an official of the Power Department said the discoms have been asked to arrange power from West Bengal and to buy from the open market, irrespective of the high costs.

The average shortfall that the city faces is between 300-400 MW everyday.

The discoms for their part have blamed the crisis on the unavailability of coal. “Over a third of the coal based power plants in India are running on critical coal stocks – having coal of less than 7 days. Delhi discoms had arranged sufficient power for the winter months, but due to unforeseen reasons beyond their control, parts of Delhi have been facing intermittent shedding for the last few days. These were largely due to Delhi getting less power from several power plants, including Dadri. With the dense fog forcing cancellation and rescheduling of goods trains, as reported by some generators, there has been a coal shortage at Dadri plants, resulting in a reduction of 300-500 MW of power to Delhi,” said a discom official.

Delhi is also not getting another 200 MW power from Chandrapura – units 7 and 8 for the past one week because of congestion in the transmission corridor.

“Though these are long-term PPAs, but Delhi was given a short-term open access. The discoms have had to carry out rotational load-shedding also because of the restrictions to overdraw from the Northern Grid so as not to breach the grid code,” the official said.

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