Delhi – DERC chairman and members still split on tariff

Despite a series of meetings to finalise the power tariff for 2010-11, the three-member Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) is far from arriving at a conclusion, as directed by High Court. Major differences seem to have cropped up between chairman Berjinder Singh and the other members over the tariff order, said the sources.

More meetings have been planned over the next few days. The DERC sources, however, said there is a possibility the members will continue to remain divided on the issue. In such a case, the regulator, instead of submitting a concise opinion, will choose to submit opinions of the individual members in the High Court.

The court’s central query revolves around whether the regulator has been able to reach a decision on the controversial tariff order, which was pulled back hours before it was to be released to the public. The Delhi government had directed the regulator against releasing the tariff order till it had taken into account several petitions filed by the private power distribution companies (discoms).

The regulator is now expected to submit its response by September 23, as directed by a two-judge bench of the High Court. The DERC has also been asked by the court to spell out clearly if a difference in opinion prevails among the members.

In May this year, when the government stopped the DERC from issuing the tariff order, several sources had reported that the regulator intended to reduce power tariff in the city. The government, on the other hand, insisted that the regulator study petitions by discoms who requested a 50 per cent hike in tariff. While DERC chairman Berjinder Singh was in favour of releasing the original tariff order, members within the commission objected to the move. With Berjinder Singh expected to retire by September-end, the task of appointing a new chairman will fall on the government. Several sources within the DERC, who agree with Singh’s point of view, believe the government will appoint a more compliant chairman.

Source- Indian Express

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SUMIT KUMAR

Executive at India Electron Exchange

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