Discoms Irked At Delay In New Tariff Order
DELHI:The Capital’s power distribution companies which are unhappy at the absence of a “cost reflective tariff” are equally sore over the delay in announcement of a new tariff order by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission. The wait for the new tariff order, the discoms claim, adds to their pending dues and further aggravates their financial problems.
“Each additional day adds to our outstanding dues and our debts increase. Ideally, the tariff should be revised in the beginning of the year so that the discoms can pay off their dues. The consumers too benefit as the debts are paid off on time and there is no additional liability that has to be passed on to them as interest of the previous dues,” said a senior official.
On Monday, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit announced that the tariff orders will be issued by the end of the week and also indicated that a hike is in the offing.
But discom officials said that a delay in announcing the revised tariff has severely affected their credibility with the banks. “Banks are already refraining from giving loans to discoms, but in our case, we suffer more, because the lenders realise that Delhi has not had a cost reflective tariff in several years and the repayment of loans is more difficult for the companies,” said the official of another discom.
A power department official said as per the rules, the DERC should announce the tariff within 120 days of the filing of the annual revenue requirement petitions by the discoms. “This year the petitions were filed by first week of February, so the tariff orders should have been out by now,” said a discom official.
Discoms have been petitioning for a hike in power prices for a long time. Citing increasing fuel costs and other over heads as reasons, the discoms have been critical of the DERC for not issuing tariffs that take into account the rising costs of power generation and purchase.
All three discoms have already sought equity infusion by the Delhi Government and their parent companies to pay their creditors. The companies claim, that banks and other lending agencies have not been forthcoming with loans, keeping in view the discoms’ poor financial condition.
BSES, for instance, was supposed to get a loan of Rs. 4,000 crore from a government owned bank, but has managed to get only half of the assured amount, even after it met the loan conditions and raised Rs. 1,020 crore from equity infusion.
“The rest of the amount that was supposed to be syndicated from the other banks could not be raised, owing to the companies’ current poor financial state,” said an official. A senior official of the DERC said the order is being finalised and will be announced soon. “The companies have sought a moderate hike as compared to the previous years’ petitions. We have studied their demands and will soon come out with a tariff that will be fair.”
The official said the regulatory assets have already been recognised last year and there will be further clarification this year.