Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused the companies that supply power to Delhi of “blackmail” after one of them warned of all-day electricity outages starting tomorrow in Central and East Delhi.
Mr. Kejriwal, who has accused the three private firms that distribute power in Delhi (discoms) of fudging their accounts to show losses, warned that their licenses could be cancelled.
Power distribution in Delhi was privatized in 2008. Since then, discoms have complained they are losing thousands of crores because they are forced to provide electricity at below-market rates.
BSES, one of the three firms, says it no longer has the money to buy electricity from the state-run NTPC, which generates power. NTPC says it is owed more than 150 crores for the month of December by BSES, which is backed by billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infra.
NTPC has turned down the Delhi government’s request to continue supplying power to BSES, which has in turn said that East and Central Delhi are staring at 8-10 hour power cuts.
Mr. Kejriwal, who took over as chief minister of Delhi last month, wants the three power companies to be audited.
Within days of taking office, he announced that electricity rates would be halved starting January 1, 2014 till March 31, 2014.
He has said that his cabinet would take a fresh call on the power rates after the national auditor completes its inspection of the private firms’ accounts.