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From its chief being summoned at the Delhi Assembly to being criticised at each step for a potential power tariff revision, the Capital’s power regulator has been running into rough waters over the past three months.
The latest in the series of onslaught is that from the Central Information Commission (CIC), which has left the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), invoking its autonomy as a quasi-judicial body.
Cornered by the CIC on allegations that it was not putting out the necessary information in public domain for tariff revisions, the DERC is now pulling out all the stops to turn the final hearing of their case in the High Court in their favour which is scheduled for Monday. The CIC earlier had asked the DERC to postpone the public hearing resulting from a complaint by one Anil Sood who raised questions on how the power regulator has done the capitalisation of fixed assets leading to a revenue gap of Rs.20,000 crore.
Delhiites might get a temporary respite from a likely power tariff hike in case the High Court gives an order unfavourable to the DERC as it would have to revisit the suggestions and objections procedure after putting up information in “simple language which a layman can understand.”
The DERC reiterated that it is an autonomous body and the CIC is not the competent authority to halt its process of annual power tariff revision. “The CIC can at best order to penalise officials of the DERC. Besides, even the complainant did not follow the set procedure as instead of going directly to the CIC, he should have registered a complaint with the appellate authority which is the Secretary of the DERC,” said JP Singh, member of the commission.
The three-month old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government too has heavily attacked the DERC. In March, during the Delhi Assembly session, the government and the commission had a face-off when MLAs clamoured to have DERC Chairperson, PD Sudhakar summoned to the House to explain why “the commission was favouring discoms”.
The commission in a stern letter had then replied to the government that it is not answerable to the AAP Government and that any dispute should be challenged only through legal course of action.
In November last year, the AAP had again questioned the independence of the power regulator which had withdrawn its orders on power tariff revision.
When asked about the frequent allegations, the DERC chief said, “The Delhi government has 49 per cent stake in all the discoms, so it is expected that they must be equally aware of their affairs.”
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