Earlier today, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal derided the companies that supply power to Delhi for “blackmail” after one of them warned of all-day electricity outages starting tomorrow in Central and East Delhi.
This evening, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission said the surcharge is for a period of three months from February 1 or until any further order.
Mr Kejriwal has accused the three private firms that distribute power in Delhi (discoms) of fudging their accounts to show losses and has asked the national auditor to inspect their accounts; he attacked the price hike this evening, describing it as “a burden on the people” imposed pre-maturely, given the audit that’s underway.
BSES, which caters largely to Central and East Delhi, warned today that it no longer has the money to buy electricity from the state-run NTPC, which generates power. Today, NTPC rejected the Delhi government’s request to continue supplying power to BSES, which owes it more than 150 crores. BSES is backed by billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infra.
Power distribution in Delhi was privatised in 2003. Since then, discoms have complained they are losing thousands of crores because they are forced to provide electricity at below-market rates.
“I pay my bills on time. So how am I at fault?” asked Gauri Sengupta, a home-maker in East Delhi.
Mr Kejriwal, who took over as chief minister of Delhi last month, has asked the national auditor to study the accounts of the three power companies.
Within days of taking office, he delivered on a pre-poll guarantee of halving the price of electricity till March 31.