'Power tariffs in city should be half of what they are'

New Delhi, Feb. 2 -- Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), on Friday accused the Delhi government of "conniving with power discoms" and not lowering electricity tariffs. He alleged that discoms were making profits and were deliberately keeping the tariffs high.

The AAP leader renewed the demand for an audit of the accounts of the three discoms by the comptroller and auditor general (CAG).

"Power tariffs in Delhi should be half of what they are now," he said, adding that the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) chairman was "an agent of the discoms". He also said the power firms in the city had earned a profit of nearly Rs. 3,577 crore and yet demanded a hike by "fudging accounts".

He alleged that when the former DERC chairman, Brijendra Singh, tried to reduce tariffs in 2010, the discoms "went running" to the Delhi government and "Chief minister Sheila Dikshit ordered that the tariffs will not be lowered".

He asked his party workers to start visiting each assembly constituency from Saturday and urge people to pay only half of their power bills. Kejriwal also accused the BJP of not raising the tariff issue as they are in the know. "Both Congress and the BJP are same and are siding with the power companies," he claimed.

The Diskhit government has refuted all of Kejriwal's charges. Power minister Haroon Yusuf said Brijendra Singh had made calculations on assumptions that power would be available from newly-built power plants at low rates. But those plants could not generate power due to various reasons.

"In 10 years, there has been 83 per cent hike in power tariff against 137% increase in power purchase cost," said Yusuf. He also said that the Delhi government did not have any problem with CAG audit.

The Delhi BJP also accused Kejriwal of being politically motivated. "Nearly 25 press conferences, demonstrations and protests were held regarding these illegal and anti-people rise in power tariff," said Vijender Gupta, Delhi BJP president.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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