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New Delhi: Delhi has been spared an increase in electricity rates by the regulator. The tariff for the group housing societies has also been reduced by 1 to 6 per kWh. The new prices apply from 1 October.

The tariff levels for the year to March will remain unchanged primarily because the regulator said no to the revenue increase sought by the distribution firms—BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL), BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL) and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDPL). The revenue disallowed stand at 913 crore, 700 crore and 912 crore, respectively.

According to Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, even at the exiting tariff levels there will be a surplus revenue of 92 crore, 37 crore and 323 crore at BRPL, BYPL and TPDPL respectively. Delhi’s power demand is in the region of around 5,000 megawatts (MW).

The issue has taken political overtones with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which came to power in Delhi, making lower electricity bills one of its electoral promises.

“As there is surplus revenue for BRPL, BYPL &TPDPL which will additionally liquidate the principal amount of the accumulated revenue gap, the commission has decided to retian the tariff for FY2015-16 at prevailing levels, with minor structural changes, based on the stakeholders’ suggestions/inputs," Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) said in a statement.

Delhi expected to be spared an increase in electricity tariffs, Mint reported on 4 September.

At the moment, electricity rates start at 4 per unit for consumption of up to 200 units, going up to 5.80-5.90 per unit for 200-400 units, 7.30 per unit for 400-800 units and higher for more consumption. The exact rates vary according to the electricity provider.

The Delhi discoms were privatized in July 2002. The distribution firms are joint ventures with Delhi Power Co. Ltd, which owns a 49% stake in each. The other discoms in Delhi are Military Engineering Services (for Delhi Cantonment) and the New Delhi Municipal Corporation.

Spokespersons for BRPL, BYPL and TPDPL didn’t immediately respond to the order.

“The reason for such liquidation of revenue gap is broadly on account of true up of past period based on de-capitalization, actual equity and other factors including penalties and disallowance on account of costly power purchase from Anta, Auraiya and Dadri stations without prior approval of the Commission. The above past period true up is likely to further reduce the revenue gap in subsequent years," the DERC statement said.

“Congratulations Delhiites. A big relief to u. No power tariff hike. I told u it was possible. All becoz of honest politics," Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.

“Though the DERC has not announced any hike in electricity tariffs, the government is of the firm view that tariffs should have been reduced," Delhi’s power minister Satyendar Jain said in an emailed statement.

In their tariff petitions, the discoms cited a revenue gap of 28,000 crore, with BRPL, BYPL and TPDPL seeking a 16%, 19% and 20% tariff hike, respectively.

In a shortlived previous stint, the AAP government had offered to take over the functioning of the distribution utilities and also suggested the appointment of its officials as administrative officers for the utilities. The two discoms had also earlier sparred with the AAP government over tariffs, with the then government announcing a 50% cut in electricity tariffs for households consuming up to 400 units of power per month.

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