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Kejriwal for PM’s intervention on Delhi’s power tariff issue

NEW DELHI: Accusing power companies of supplying costly electricity, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Sunday sought the Prime Minister’s intervention in allowing Delhi government to cancel long-term power purchase pacts with central power generation companies so that tariff can be brought down significantly.

Launching a power amnesty scheme, Kejriwal said the previous Congress government had entered into power purchase pacts with a number of central power generation companies because of which the tariff has gone up significantly in the national capital in the last few years.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader claimed power tariff in the city was high as Delhi was purchasing 50 per cent of the power at the rate of Rs 5.5 per unit.

“We have come to know that many power companies are ready to supply power at Rs 2.5 to Rs 3 per unit. When we can get electricity at this rate, why should we buy it for Rs 5 or Rs 5.50 per unit?,” the chief minister said while addressing the programme at Vinod Nagar in east Delhi.

“I appeal to the Prime Minister to intervene as it (the Centre) has powers to cancel the agreements,” Kejriwal said, adding, “if this permission is given, the electricity tariff in Delhi will further come down.”

The power amnesty scheme will benefit 2.5 lakh consumers in Delhi who had not cleared their dues because of various reasons ranging from inflated bills to power theft.

In July, a high-powered committee of former Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission chief Berjinder Singh, tasked by the AAP government to bring out a white paper on the capital’s power sector, had accused the regulator of failing to verify genuineness of short-term power purchase by the discoms.

In its report, the committee has said when the power tariff should have been slashed between 2011 and 2013, the DERC hiked it several times, overlooking consumers’ interest. At the launch, Kejriwal said when the AAP government examined the issue, it realised that the previous government had entered into agreements valid for 30 years. “The power companies now tell us that since these agreements are in place, you will have to buy power from us. The companies are pressurising us. Why should people suffer?” he said.

He also said the government has no enmity with power companies and wants to ensure 24-hour power supply at cheaper rates. He made it clear that power discoms would be fined if they cut electricity for more than one hour in a day.

“We appeal to the central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow us to cancel the costly agreements reached earlier with private companies,” he said.

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