New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal, founder of the Aam Admi Party, today accused the Delhi government of colluding with power companies to over-charge consumers for electricity.The Delhi government has refuted Mr Kejriwal's allegations. Power Minister Haroon Yusuf said they were "totally baseless."
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Mr Kejriwal alleges that since electricity was private in 2002, distribution losses incurred by companies have fallen significantly.
Instead of passing on the saving to customers, he says electricity companies have fudged their balance sheets by showing losses.
Mr Kejriwal says that in 2010, Brijnder Singh, who was head of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), which decides electricity prices, found that distribution companies (DISCOMS) were making large profits because inefficiencies in the supply had been contained. Mr Kejriwal says that the chair of the DERC wanted power prices to be slashed by 23%.
He alleges that power companies projected losses of nearly 600 crores for the years 2010-11 and wanted prices increased. The chairman of the DERC, however, reportedly found their profits would add upto nearly 3000 crores and wanted power rate slashed by about 20%.
Mr Kejriwal says the Delhi government intervened to help power companies and stopped the head of the DERC from issuing an order to lower electricity prices.
After Mr Singh retired as he head of the DERC, the new chairperson PD Sudhakar, increased power prices by 20% in 2011 and nearly 30% last year, according to Mr Kejriwal. He says that to justify the higher rates, power companies were misreporting the losses they incurred in distribution.
Mr Sudhakar denounced those allegations, and said Mr Kejriwal's attack is politically motivated. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit called the charges "baseless and false". (Read)
Mr Kejriwal says electricity prices must be cut immediately and the government's auditor -the Comptroller and Auditor General - must investigate the accounts of power companies.
The Delhi government has refuted allegations of an electricity scam since October when Mr Kejriwal first accused it of cheating the public.
He has been ordered to appear in a Delhi court on March 20 in a defamation case filed against him for using offensive language against the chief minister Sheila Dikshit in a television show
Story First Published: February 01, 2013 18:56 IST