New Delhi: The Congress' Delhi unit on Saturday alleged that the AAP government coaxed people living in rented accommodations to install separate power meters, following which the DERC increased the fixed charges benefitting the discoms.
At a press conference, the party's Delhi unit president Sheila Dikshit alleged that the Arvind Kejriwal government "enacted a drama of installing lakhs of meters to benefit the power companies".
"Electricity bills used to be nominal before. In the name of fixed charges, the government collected crores of rupees and gave it to power discoms," she alleged.
The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) is the competent authority for fixing power consumption rates in the national capital.
The Delhi Congress' working president Haroon Yusuf accused the AAP government of "befooling people" and getting them install lakhs of power meters in JJ clusters, unauthorised colonies, and elsewhere. "After the meters were installed, the fixed charge component of power tariff was raised causing a lot of trouble to the poor. This money is going to the discoms," he alleged.
"Now, in the run-up to the (assembly) elections, Kejriwal has been saying he will ask the regulator to roll back the hike in the fixed charge," Yusuf said.
During a public meeting on June 1, Kejriwal claimed the DERC had raised the fixed charge component of power tariff last year "without consulting the Delhi government". "New tariff rates will be fixed next month. We have asked the DERC to bring the fixed charges to previous levels and they are likely to agree to it," he had said.
The DERC had in March 2018, raised the monthly fixed charges for domestic consumers having up to 2kW load from Rs 20 to Rs 125.
The Delhi government provides subsidy to such consumers. However, in other categories, consumers pay higher fixed charges. The hike in the fixed charges for other slabs were - for 2-5 kW from Rs 35 to Rs 140; 5-15 kW Rs 45 to Rs 175; 15-25 kW from Rs 60 to Rs 200; and for more than 25 kW, from Rs 100 to Rs 250.
An official in the power department said that the DERC fixes power tariffs and the government cannot influence its decisions in any way. The five discoms in the national capital only follows the recommendations of the power regulator.
"Anyone can make a representation before the DERC, whether it is the government or the public. But ultimately, the power regulator has to take a call. While the fixed charges were increased, the electricity consumption charge was decreased by Re 1 per unit. It was a balancing act. It doesn't benefit the power discoms," an expert in the power sector said.
No immediate reaction from the ruling AAP was available.