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State subsidising power consumers should foot the bill: Scindia

Posted on Jan 16 2014 | IANS

New Delhi Jan 16 : Although the states have the prerogative to subsidise electricity tariff for certain groups of customers, distribution companies (discoms) should foot the bill for this, Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said Thursday.

"Whatever is the price of power, if I decide to give subsidy to certain consumers that is my prerogative as a state government. But I must foot the bill for that. So, there should be transparency and accountability across the system," Scindia said at a press conference here.

The minister's remarks come in the context of recently elected Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's announcement reducing electricity rates by 50 percent for those consuming up to 400 units a month.

The national context overall is one of precarious financial health of state-run distribution companies. These had a debt burden by end-March 2012, of a staggering Rs.246,000 crore, for which the government approved a restructuring package in September 2012.

"We have put in place a policy framework for the sector, which will allow investors to get returns. This will allow discoms to operate efficiently and take away political and government interference from this very politicisation of power," Scindia added.

Regarding the official auditor CAG auditing Delhi's private discoms Scindia said: "If one has done nothing wrong and there is nothing to hide, what is the issue."

The Delhi government has asked for the audit of the Reliance discoms BSES Rajdhani (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna (BYPL). The Aam Aadmi Party had earlier described their accounts as being "fudged and unreliable" and thus untrustworthy regarding their revenue situation.

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