• Discoms ‘sense’ DERC notification as AAP’s influence

    In the wake of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) notification on compensation for unscheduled outages, power discoms are apparently sensing a “disturbing” trend of the AAP government trying to “influence” the power regulator.

    Tata Power discom (TPDDL) has already filed a petition with the DERC challenging the notification that still awaits the nod of Lt Governor Najeeb Jung even as a senior government official yesterday said the High Court verdict will not affect the notification issued by the power regulator.

    Power experts have also cited “practical difficulties” towards implementing the order. It will require replacing the existing meters, numbering around 50 lakh, with smart meters which may entail investment of a few thousand crores as they cost multiple times more than the existing ones.

    “Delhi government influencing the ‘independent’ regulator raises a very disturbing trend of attempt to influence DERC. This is against the spirit of the Electricity Act, 2003. The basis of the power reforms was to establish the independence of the regulator and to limit the interference of the state government,” a source said.

    The DERC had issued the order, which includes making the discoms liable to pay Rs 100/hour to customers in case of power cuts exceeding two hours, following directions from the city government in this regard.

    The Delhi High Court had recently quashed the directions of the government where prior approval of the LG was not taken before issuing them although it did not affect the notification issued by DERC.

    Experts also pointed towards section 57 of the Electricity Act, 2003 which says that before determination of compensation, the licensee (discoms) concerned shall be given reasonable opportunity of being heard and that automatic imposition of compensation by way of regulation is “not possible”.

    While the government has pulled up the BSES discoms over their “atrocious” performances, the Reliance ADAG-owned company has blamed power theft and its inability to augment infrastructure like installing sub-stations despite repeated reminders to the authorities concerned to provide land.

    The city’s power sector was privatised in 2002. Willie Snead IV Authentic Jersey

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