Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal has said that the residents of Delhi will be compensated for any unscheduled power cuts in the city. The CM met with the Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to discuss plans to make discoms pay for unscheduled power cuts in Delhi. A penalty of Rs 50 per hour per consumer, followed by Rs 100 for every subsequent hour, was to be levied on the discoms as per the draft regulation.
The matter has been in discussion since June 2015, when the Delhi government issued directions to the DERC to penalise discoms for unscheduled outages. Though a regulator was issued in May 2016 ordering the discoms to compensate consumers up to Rs 100 per hour for unscheduled outages extending up to two hours, the policy was never implemented as the gazette notification was still awaited.
The Lieutenant Governor (L-G) after his meeting with Kejriwal agreed that there was a need for the enforcement of the proposed compensation. He tweeted saying, “Met CM @ArvindKejriwal. Discussed issue of power cuts & compensation to consumers. Suggested to devise a rational,fair & enforceable model.”.
Kejriwal tweeted saying, “Hon’ble LG agreed DISCOMS shud pay compensation 4 unscheduled power cuts 2 make them accountable. Fairplay n equity 2 consumers 2 be ensured.”
The approval from the L-G gives a green signal to the party’s efforts to deal with the innumerable complaints from across Delhi about spiralling power cuts this summer. The national capital has been facing power-cut issues since the temperatures touched mid-40s and the consumption of power increased to 6,500 Megawatts a day. According to the government of Delhi, the distribution system, including transformers and power cables, are very old and thus malfunction due to the searing heat. Many areas in Delhi have complained of power cuts that last for as long as six hours.
900 points across the city have been found to have weak supply lines by the discoms. Maintenance of these lines is going a be a very expensive affair.
The government has been trying to make the circumstances easier for the Delhiites by ordering discoms to inform consumers through text messages ahead of a scheduled outage. The government also asked the companies to report an unscheduled power cut to it the next morning.
Implementation of the proposal of compensating consumers for power outages is going to be an uphill task, especially according to the DERC because of the following reasons:
- Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) is required to agree to this proposal and notify the regulation.
- Also, it is unlikely that the DERC will be able to notify the policy this summer as the entire regulation will have to be re-drafted.
- The DERC will have to go through the entire process of inviting suggestions and objections from public and stakeholders.
- There may be a need for amends in the policy according to suggestions thus received.