Power discoms are short of funds, Centre must help: Sheila to Scindia

A week after Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) wrote to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, recommending bailout packages for city discoms due to lack of infrastructural help from the Centre, the CM met Union Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday.

Scindia assured Dikshit that the Central government would consider extending financial support to the power distribution companies (discoms). The Delhi government is expected to send a formal letter to the Power Ministry on Tuesday.

Earlier, the discoms had also requested for a further hike in power tariff, citing their poor financial state and credit rating. Discom officials said the increase in tariff was required to recover their "past dues" and "to purchase power for the coming months".

Following the meeting, Scindia said: "We have discussed the situation and will soon take a decision on the necessities of the three discoms." He declined to comment on bailout packages.

A senior Delhi government official, who was present at the meeting, said Scindia and Dikshit were against increasing the power tariff in the national capital.

"Neither the Union minister nor the Chief Minister wants a power tariff hike, which would hit consumers hard. However, we will send a formal request on Tuesday to the Power Ministry about the same," the official said.

The DERC, in its letter, had mentioned Central government schemes such as Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, which could be used to aid the discoms.

"These schemes are meant for government entities and not for Delhi's discoms, which are all private," a senior official said. He said the Power Ministry would deliberate on whether these schemes could be made available to Delhi's discoms.

With collective regulatory assets worth over Rs 20,000 crore, the discoms had declared to the power regulator, DERC, that they might be in no position to distribute power unless immediate and substantial relief from the government was provided.

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