New Delhi: Unfazed by criticism for the steep increase in power tariff, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today justified the hike saying it was done to ensure uninterrupted power supply in the city.
She also announced continuation of Rs one subsidy per unit to those who limit monthly consumption to 200 units.
“The DERC had to hike the tariff to ensure that people of Delhi continue to get power..If anybody has any grivance or wants to say anything about the hike, then they should go to DERC or the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission,” she said.
The Chief Minister, who had been favouring hiking the tariff to insulate the discoms from rising power purchase cost, said the demand has gone up significantly and there was a need to control consumption of power by the people.
“People do not have control over power consumption. People use four-five air-conditioners (in one household). They will have to change their habits,” Dikshit said.
The decision to continue giving the subsidy to the consumers who limit their consumption to 200 units was taken at a cabinet meeting presided by Dikshit.
Power tariff for domestic consumers was hiked by a steep 26 per cent – the fourth increase in 10 months – which came as a shock to people already burdened by high inflation and petrol price rise. The new tariff came into effect from 1 July. The average hike was 20.87 per cent for all segements was taken into account.
The government has been giving the subsidy for the last four years and officials said the cabinet had to take a decision afresh as the previous notifications lapsed following announcement of a new tariff order by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission.
“We have decided to continue the subsidy which will benefit around 19 lakh of the total 34 lakh consumers. We will release an amount of Rs 222.40 crore for this purpose,” Dikshit said adding government has been providing the subsidy to ensure judicious use of power.
The Chief Minister said 200 units of electricity are enough to use at least two fans for 20 hours per day, two tube-lights for six hours per day, one TV for four hours per day, one refrigerator round the clock and one water pump for an hour or so.
She claimed Delhi was the only city in the country where uninterrupted power supply and the revised tariff is much lower than other metro cities.
Quoting the DERC order, Dikshit said the power purchase cost has gone up as there had been a hike of 36 per cent in coal prices and 103 per cent in gas prices. Further, per unit cost of power used to be Rs 2.86 in the year 2009 and it is more than Rs 5.00 in the current year.
She also claimed Delhi government has no role in determination of power tariff and it was the DERC which fixed the tariff.
In May 2010, year, the city government had through a notification stalled DERC’s decision to announce the annual tariff for 2010-11. The DERC, which was making last minute preparations to announce the new tariff, after receiving the government directive had indicated that it had planned to cut down the tariff by 20 to 25 per cent as discoms would have a surplus of around Rs 4,000 crore if the existing tariff was not changed.
Although the DERC was strongly arguing for a cut in tariff, the three-member regulator, gave indication of taking a sympathetic approach to the demands of the discoms.
The government’s notification was quashed by Delhi High Court in February, describing the intervention as “absolutely unjustified, unwarranted, untenable”.