POLL CODE SAVES DELHI FROM POWER HIKE

Friday, October 31, 2014, New Delhi

In a temporary breather for Delhiites, power tariffs would not be hiked in November. The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has received a notification from the Election Commission to stall the announcement of power purchase adjustment charges due to the model code of conduct for the bypolls to the three Assembly seats in the national Capital.

A power tariff hike to the tune of five to seven per cent was expected in Delhi from November as the power regulator had to levy a fuel surcharge to help private distribution companies adjust their power purchase cost (PPAC). But now the likely hike on electricity bills is expected to be imposed only after November 25 - the day bypolls to constituencies Krishna Nagar, Tughlakabad and Mehrauli are to be held. "We got a notification from the Election Commission on Tuesday directing us not to make any new announcements due to the ongoing model code of conduct in the city. So we will have to wait until the bypolls are over. We have got more time to analyse the quarterly fuel surcharge submissions by the discoms," said PD Sudhakar, chairperson, DERC.

By October 21, discoms BSES Yamuna, BSES Rajdhani and Tata Power Delhi submitted their petition to the regulator for PPAC. BYPL has sought an increase of 17.1 per cent, BSES Rajdhani 7.26 per cent and Tata Power for nine per cent due to fuel costs. The PPAC surcharge is for costs incurred by discoms between July-September 2014 and was supposed to be applicable in consumer bills from November 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015.

The power regulator had done away with imposing around 8 per cent of PPAC in July while announcing a power tariff increase of up to 7.5 per cent. The withdrawal of the PPAC resulted in marginal decline of tariff for the consumers, whose monthly consumption does not exceed 400 units. In January, the regulator had hiked the fuel surcharge to the tune of eight per cent for BYPL, six per cent for BRPL and seven per cent for TPDDL.

The power utilities in Delhi, particularly BRPL and BYPL, have been demanding significant hike in tariff citing rise in power purchase cost. Official figures show around 80-90 per cent of total revenue of discoms goes into purchasing power from the Central and State Government entities through long-term power purchase agreements at rates determined by the Central and State regulators. DERC had introduced PPAC in 2012 to help discoms recover additional cost due to increase in coal and gas prices.

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