Residents demand full rollback of hiked tariffs

New Delhi, Oct. 22 -- Even as political parties and other groups were seen clamouring to claim credit for the revision in power tariffs by power regulator Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), they demanded a complete rollback of the hiked tariffs. They claimed that it was only partial relief to the consumers and the hike in tariffs should be completely taken back.

Arvind Kejriwal, who burnt electricity bills protesting the tariff hike, termed it "partial victory". "It is a partial victory and our agitation will continue till the time government rolls back the entire hike," said Kejriwal, leader of India Against Corruption (IAC).

BJP, the principal opposition party, which had held several protests against the power tariff hike, claimed the revision is mere eyewash. "The way in which the DERC has made changes in the slab rates at the request of Delhi government is actually cheating with the people of Delhi. BJP strongly condemns this increase and our movement to protest against power tariff hike will continue with full force till the increase in power tariffs is withdrawn," said BJP state unit president Vijender Gupta.

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) on Monday reinstated the 201 to 400 units slab, which it had scrapped earlier. The abolition of the 201-400 units slab and introduction of 0-400 units slab had resulted in significant increase in electricity bills of the majority of consumers whose consumption was below 400 units but above 200 units.

While reinstating the 201-400 slab, the DERC slightly revised the tariff structure for those consuming above 400 units by 10 paisa to Rs. 6.50 per unit.

Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) also demanded a complete rollback. "This revision by DERC is a clumsy attempt to rectify a mistake they had committed. It is time to wind up DERC, money thus saved will give a higher relief to the consumers reeling under the impact of arbitrarily hiked tariffs over the past 10 months. They do not protect the consumers while thumbing a nose at the Electricity Act, keeping their invisible masters happy and wealthy," said Rajiv Kakaria, member of Greater Kailash I RWA.

"This is not the kind of revision that we were expecting. We want the government to roll back the hike; until that is done we will continue our struggle," said BS Vohra, east Delhi RWAs joint front.

Mukesh Sharma, parliamentary secretary to the chief minister, also claimed credit, saying he along with Shahdara MLA Narendra Nath had also filed a petition with DERC demanding revision of tariffs.

"DERC should have retained Rs. 4.80 as the tariff for units consumed between 201 to 400 rather than increasing it to Rs. 5.50," said Pankaj Aggarwal, general secretary of Delhi RWA joint front.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.