Announcement of power tariff order in Delhi for 2021-22 delayed by over 3 months

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New Delhi, Jul 1 (PTI) Announcement of electricity tariff order in Delhi for 2021-22 have been delayed by over three months even as the discoms in the city have raised a demand with power regulator DERC for a hike in the rates in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reason behind the delay is primarily the second wave of COVID-19 in the city and a lockdown imposed due to it, chairman of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) Justice (retd) S S Chauhan told PTI.

'Besides, we also had to implement certain court orders. Our endeavour is to come out with the tariff order as soon as possible,' said Chauhan, who completes his term as DERC chairman on July 4.

He was appointed to the post on July 5, 2018. The Delhi government has already set up a selection committee to find Chauhan's replacement.

Delayed and insufficient tariff revisions burden the consumers with interest costs, sources said.

'If the tariff order is not announced before the chairman retires, the process will get delayed. Though a single-member commission can also discharge its full duties, a large part of the tariff process will have to be re-run,' a source said.

The DERC is a three-member panel.

Power distribution companies, including TPDDL, and BSES discoms BYPL and BRPL, filed their tariff petitions in December 2020. They have made further submissions to the DERC seeking factoring in the impact of second wave and the possibility of a third one.

The BSES discoms, in their revised petitions, have hiked their expected revenue gap from Rs 1,703 crore to Rs 3,577 crore (BRPL) and Rs 1,148 crore to Rs 1,945 crore, for 2021-22.

The Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) too, in its submission, has feared a decrease in income in the current financial year.

Sources said the delay in issuing tariffs is against the recommendations of the National Tariff Policy, 2016, and the directions of the Ministry of Power to state power regulators.

'Timely issuance of the tariff orders and full cost reflectiveness of tariff are important pre-requisites for ensuring the sustainability of the power sector and is also in the interest of the electricity consumers,' the ministry had said in a communication to power regulators in April.

The tariff order for a financial year, in the normal course, should have been announced before April 1. However in the past five years, power tariff announcements in the national capital have been delayed by four to 12 months, sources claimed. PTI VIT NSD NSD

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