Targets Sheila Dikshit again, wants refund for consumers
GN Bureau | February 1, 2013
Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan of the Aam Aadmi party have slammed the capital's power companies and said that the power tarrif here, hiked from February 1, was double of what it should be.
READ KEJRIWAL’S CHARGES: DELHI POWER SCAM (attached below)
Kejriwal, who held a press conference after a gap of a couple of months, alleged that power distribution costs had come down and yet tariffs remained high because chief minister Sheila Dikshit had blocked the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) from reducing prices.
"When power prices go up, the government says it is in the hands of DERC. Otherwise it is within their jurisdiction,” he said. He also alleged the power distribution companies of the capital, part of the Tata and Anil Dhirubhai Ambani groups, were making fraudulent transactions and hiking tariffs.
"Without any tenders, using verbal contracts electricity is being sold by firms to their sister companies at a higher price," he said, reading out from a sheath of documents.
Before the privatisation of electricity in 2002, the distribution losses in Delhi were 55%. The government claimed that losses would come down and the profit would be passed on to the consumers, after privatization, Kejriwal said.
He accused the Delhi government of working in favour of the power distribution companies and not lowering electricity tariff in the national capital.
The Aam Aadmi Party founder also said that when former DERC chairman Brijender Singh tried to reduce tariff by 23% in May 2010, power companies went running to the Delhi government and chief minister Sheila Dikshit ordered that the power tariff should not be lowered.
He said the power tariff should have been half of what it is, and that power firms earned profits amounting to Rs.3, 577 crore.
Kejriwal said the copy of the order by Brijender Singh was obtained by BJP’s Vijender Gupta through RTI in September last year but he did not disclose it. “It shows that even BJP did not act against it. Probably because they think they will come to power soon and would do the same thing,” he added.
Kejriwal said that between 2004 and 2006, the Anil Ambani group's companies have purchased equipment at higher price with fraudulent billing."The company purchased equipment worth Rs 1,428 crore from the sister company Reliance Energy Ltd. But when records were audited it was found that the actual billing was of Rs 850 crore," he added.
Also, Kejriwal pointed at substantial increase in distribution losses during current DERC chairman PD Sudhakar's tenure. "The distribution losses came down from 55% to 15% during Bijender Singh's tenure. But when Sudhakar took over, losses were reported." He said out of the 21 circles in BSES Rajdhani area, losses increased in 18 circles.
Calling Sudhakar an "agent" of electricity companies, Kejriwal said he raised electricity prices by 22 percent within a year of taking charge.
“In 2011 tarrif was increased by 22% and in 2012 it was increased by 32%. Thus making it to Rs 161 per unit per month,” he added.
In this context, he also reiterated the demand for a comptroller and auditor general (CAG) audit of these firms. "There should be a CAG audit of the power companies. Sheila Dikshit is not allowing it. Until a CAG audit is carried out there should be no increase in fares," he said.
Moreover, Kejriwal demanded that the additional money the Delhi consumers paid to the firms should be returned – instead of hiking the rates further.
Here is what the AAP has demanded:
1. Former DERC chairman Brijender Singh’s tariff order for the year 2010?11 should be implemented and electricity tariff should be immediately reduced to half.
2. Tariff orders passed by Sudhakar for the years 2011?12 and 2012?13 should be scrapped.
3. The excess money charged from consumers in the last three years should be refunded to them.
4. Performance and financial audit of DISCOMs should be done by CAG. Before such audit, tariff should not be increased in Delhi. And if the DISCOMS do not cooperate with CAG, their licenses should be cancelled.
5. FIR should be registered against those DISCOMs who have fudged their records.
6. DERC chairperson should be selected and appointed through a more transparent and participatory process
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