February was a chance to register views on the petitions filed by the three discoms for a tariff hike in the next financial year. Of the three discoms, BYPL (that supplies to east and central Delhi) has sought the maximum hike of 13% on basic power bill along with an increase of 15-20% in surcharge. Surprisingly, BRPL, which feeds south and west Delhi, wants an increase of just 1.6 % in tariff. But it wants surcharge to go up from the existing 8% to 15-20%. North Delhi’s Tata Power wants a flat 11% hike in the basic power bill with no mention of increase in the surcharge.
A comprehensive summary of the three petitions will soon be put up on the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) website. “By next week we will put up the gist of each petition for our consumers to collect feedback. This will be followed by a public hearing by either February-end or early March,” said PD Sudhakar, chairman, DERC.
Discoms have cited increase in cost of power purchase and their failure to recover dues for the need to raise tariff. The Reliance-run companies have also asked for a comprehensive power purchase adjustment (PPA) formula. “This is because over 80% of a discom’s expenditure is towards purchasing power. Delhi discoms buy power mainly from government/ PSU power plants, primarily from long-term agreements, which help keep the power costs low,” said a senior discom officer.
Explaining the reason for the gap in the hike sought by BYPL and BRPL, a discom official said BYPL has more domestic consumers, so it has lower revenues. “BYPL has asked for a 13% hike as it has an unfavorable consumer mix. Generally, commercial consumers cross-subsidize domestic consumers. But in the case of BYPL, the percentage of commercial consumers is very low vis-a-vis the domestic consumers,” the officer added.
Tata Power has suggested protecting the low-end consumers from a steep hike by making heavy users across all the categories — domestic, commercial and industrial — pay more. It has suggested a new slab for domestic consumers using 400-600 units. To date, there are three categories: 0-200, 201-400 and 400 and above. It has also proposed creating a slab system for commercial and industrial consumers.