Delhi RWAs demand reduction in fixed costs on electricity bills and audit of discoms | Latest Delhi News
The first day of a two-day public hearing by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), to decide the electricity tariff for the financial year 2022-23, saw the participation of at least 20 property associations on Thursday. -Being Residents (RWA), who unanimously urged the electricity regulator to get the Delhi government to start contributing at least 50% of the pension surcharge which is currently levied on every monthly electricity bill.
Many, including those in wealthy settlements, have also said they will not opt out of the electricity subsidy scheme, which Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made optional last week with the proposed change taking effect. October 1.
A pension surcharge of 7% is a fixed component on every electricity bill and the money thus collected from consumers is intended to pay the pensions of employees who have retired from the Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB), which was the only discom in Delhi before the privatization of the electricity sector.
On September 30 last year, the DERC kept all other rates on the electricity bill unchanged, except for the pension trust surcharge, which was increased from 5% to 7%. In 2020, it fell from 3.8% to 5%.
“Last year alone, the targeted amount to be collected through the pension surcharge was nearly ₹400 crores and it keeps going up every year. Full recovery of unpaid bills from DVB is urgently required given the huge pension liability imposed on consumers due to a tripartite agreement, to which the consumer was not even a party. The Delhi government was the guarantor for the pension payment,” said Saurabh Gandhi, general secretary of United Residents of Delhi (URD), a conglomerate of more than 1,000 small RWAs across Delhi.
“Additionally, various state governments are now adopting the LIC (Atal Pension Scheme) pension scheme for their employees. The Delhi government should support pension commitments, instead of forcing them on consumers as a pension supplement,” Gandhi said.
Delhi government spokespersons did not respond to requests for comment.
There were also those who objected to Kejriwal’s May 5 announcement when he said the electricity subsidy would become optional from October 1.
HT was the first to report on May 6 that the subsidy will not be automatically applied to every eligible electricity bill as is currently the case. On the contrary, it will be necessary to opt for it in order to benefit from the scheme.
“The optional electricity subsidy will further disenfranchise the rich. This Delhi government announcement is an emotional blackmail card. The money saved will then be distributed to cultivate targeted vote banks in the name of development. I will not step down as my money will be used against me to cultivate and strengthen the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) vote bank. Rather, the process should be that if people do not call a dedicated number or submit a written request, the grant will continue,” said Save Our City campaign manager and Greater Kaialsh-1 RWA member Rajiv Kakria. .
BS Vohra, who heads the East Delhi RWA Joint Front, also said he and several other residents, including many from wealthy settlements in east Delhi, had decided not to opt out of the electricity subsidy.
Sanjay Gupta of Model Town RWA urged the DERC to allow auditing of discoms as well as the pension trust surcharge.
Discoms, for its part, said there had been no significant tariff hike in Delhi since 2014. In the years that followed, their power purchase costs rose by more than 300 percent, while the retail electricity tariff only increased by 91%. “Savings from AT&C losses have provided a cushion for Delhi discoms to ensure business continuity despite non-cost-reflective tariffs over the years. Due to non-cost reflective tariffs, Delhi’s discom revenue (regulatory assets) gap has reached a milestone of more than ₹50,000 crores to be reached ₹51,646 crore, as of March 31, 2020,” a discom official said.