Power regulator DERC on Thursday announced new tariff for Delhi but did not raise the rates, saying it did not see any "good reasons" to do so. However, the power bill for consumers may increase marginally from October 1 as the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has increased the pension surcharge from 5 percent to 7 percent.
"After considering all the relevant factors, the Commission has come to the conclusion that there are no good reasons to make any increase in the existing tariff structure," the DERC said in a statement. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet there was no revision in Delhi consumers' bill for the 7th year in a row.
"Congratulations Delhi. No revision in electricity bills for 7th year in a row. On the one hand the electricity rates are skyrocketing, Delhiites in the other hand are not only getting 24-hour electricity but also free of cost upto 200 units," he tweeted in Hindi.
The DERC in its tariff order for 2021-22 kept the electricity rates per unit and the fixed charges same as last year for different categories of consumers including domestic ones.
"We believe it's a very good power tariff order. In the given situation, we tried to balance equity of all stakeholders and would like to do even better next time," DERC chairman Justice (retd) Shabihul Husnain told PTI. Last fiscal (2020-21) also, the DERC did not hike electricity rates citing the COVID pandemic.
Although it raised pension surcharge this fiscal from 5 percent to 7 percent, it kept the levy of Regulatory Asset Surcharge of 8 percent unchanged in 2021-22. The regulatory asset (revenue gap) surcharge is levied on the consumers of power discoms in Delhi. "The hike of 2 percent pension surcharge which is imposed on base tariff -- per unit consumption and fixed charges -- will have nominal effect on a smaller category of users because bulk of them who consume upto 200 units are covered by free electricity scheme of Delhi government," a source in the DERC said.
Power tariff in Delhi has not witnessed any major increase since the Aam Aadmi Party came to power in 2015. Ruling party leaders claim the electricity rates in the city are "cheapest" in the country. Before the tariff revision, Delhi's power discoms -- BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL), BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) -- had petitioned the DERC demanding a hike to mitigate the losses due to COVID-19.
The accumulated revenue gaps (regulatory assets) of the Delhi discoms crossed Rs 50,000 crore, reaching Rs 51,646 crore by the end of March this year, sources said. The discoms in their revised projected revenue gap for 2021-22 also factored in the COVID-19 impact this year. As per their petitions with DERC, the projected revenue gap for 2021-22 is Rs 3,577 crore for BRPL, Rs 1,945 crore for BYPL and Rs 1,844 crore for TPDDL.
The power tariff for a financial year is usually announced by DERC before April. However, it was delayed this year due to the pandemic and retirement of Justice Husnain's (retd) predecessor. In the new power tariff order, the DERC has encouraged green power by providing waiver of Service Line cum Development (SLD) and Network Augmentation charges for all renewable energy projects to developers under the Virtual & Group Net Metering mode. In order to promote pollution-free transportation and clean environment, the commission has decided to continue with the existing subsidised tariff rates for e vehicles.