“It has potential of derailing power sector reforms in Delhi”

In a strongly worded letter to Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has stated that “unless the mounting outstanding dues, frequent load-shedding, poor consumer satisfaction and inability to reduce AT&C (Aggregate Technical and Commercial) losses on the part of BSES companies are attended to with the seriousness they deserves, it has the potential of derailing the power sector reforms in Delhi”.

In the letter, sent on February 7, the Chief Minister called upon Mr. Ambani to “pay personal attention”’ to the matter as it was “serious’’ in order to ensure that immediate remedial measures are taken to improve the overall functioning of the two BSES companies involved in power distribution in Delhi.

Urging him to provide a “time schedule” by March 15 on the steps taken to “ensure quality and consisted power for Delhi”, Ms. Dikshit also cautioned that “on failure to do so, we shall be forced and duty bound to look for alternative measures”.

With the issues of power tariff hike, poor quality of supply in some areas and the inability of the discoms to curb theft proving to be a thorn in the flesh for the Government going into the election year, Ms. Dikshit has gone for some plain speak on these issues.

“Delhi has completed 10 years of power sector reforms successfully. The AT&C loss reduction and improvement in overall efficiency have been widely appreciated and quoted. However, since the last one year or so the performance of BSES companies is not up to the desired level,’’ she said.

Elaborating on the performance aspect, Ms. Dikshit said “in spite of infusion of equity in the past, both the companies are defaulting in clearing outstanding dues of generating and transmission companies” of the Delhi Government.

Noting that “cheaper sources of power’’, like the availability from National Hydroelectric Power Corporation were not being availed of by BSES on account of regulation and outstanding dues,” the Chief Minister said “the current outstanding by both BRPL and BYPL amount to about Rs.2600 crore to the Delhi Government-owned generation and transmission companies”.

Ms. Dikshit also raised the issue of inadequate augmentation of infrastructure by the two discoms. She said “BRPL and BYPL are suffering a lot from distribution constraints and enough attention has not been paid to augment the infrastructure including changing of cables. It has led to overloading of transformers resulting in frequent tripping and load shedding.”

Making a mention of how there are complaints of frequent load shedding, Ms. Dikshit said “though on record, the load shedding appears to be for 30-60 minutes, but on the ground it is reported to be for a much longer period.”

“In respect of BRPL, the AT&C loss level that was approved by Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission is 15 per cent in the year 2011-12 whereas the actual AT&C loss is reported to be 16.36 per cent. In respect of BYPL also, virtually there is no reduction in AT&C loss levels and it is reported to be at about 18 per cent,’’ she pointed out. The Chief Minister said in the light of these findings “it is felt that in spite of achieving collection efficiency, the discoms are unable to continue the ongoing programme of reduction in AT&C loss as mandated by DERC.”

  • “Immediate measures be taken to improve the overall functioning of the two BSES companies”

  • “on failure to do so, we shall be forced and duty bound to look for alternative measures”