Kejriwal requests CAG to order an audit into the finances of the three private power distribution companies

The Aam Aadmi Party government on Tuesday announced a 50 per cent subsidy on power consumption up to 400 units on the existing Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) rates in Delhi. The subsidy announced by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is includes that announced by the previous government in August for consumers using power in the slab of 0-200 and 201-400 units per month.

With the new rates — which comes into effect from January 1, 2014, and would be in vogue till the end of the current financial year, — households consuming power up to 200 units would now pay Rs.1.95 against the existing rate of Rs.3.90. Similarly, the consumers would have to pay at the rate of Rs.2.90 per unit against the existing Rs.5.80 for the 201-400 unit slab.

After the subsidy announced by the Sheila Dikshit government, consumers were paying Rs.2.70 per unit for the first 200 units.

From 201 to 400 units, they were being charged Rs.4.80 per unit.

As per the Tuesday’s Cabinet decision, no subsidy would be given to domestic consumers on power consumption above 400 units.

Mr. Kejriwal also met the Comptroller and Auditor General on Tuesday, requesting the top auditor to order an audit into the finances of the three private power distribution companies in the Capital.

“The power companies have time to file their objections against CAG audit till tomorrow [Wednesday]. By the time the issue of auditing is decided, we would be providing 50 per cent subsidy to power consumers. The subsidy will apply for consumptions up to 400 units and it would bring relief to over 28 lakh out of the existing 34.6 lakh power consumers in Delhi,” said Mr. Kejriwal after chairing the Cabinet meeting.

The decision comes within 48 hours of the DERC saying the government cannot interfere in tariff fixation as it is a regulatory issue.

Mr. Kejriwal, after announcing the subsidy, clarified that the “government cannot fix the tariff, but it can give subsidy which they have decided to extend”.

For the period between January-March 2014, Mr. Kejriwal said the decision of subsidy to power consumers would “theoretically” cost the state exchequer about Rs.200 crores. However, it would actually cost Rs.61 crore.