New Delhi government orders audit of three private discoms

The New Delhi government yesterday ordered an audit of three private power distribution companies. According to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) would conduct an audit of the three firms – Reliance-owned BSES, BSES Rajdhani (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna (BYPL). He said the accounts of the three companies were 'fudged and unreliable' and not 'untrustworthy' as regards their revenues.

Kejriwal, who took oath as chief minister on Saturday, fulfilled his second major election promise on Tuesday with power tariff cut through subsidy, a move that would benefit an estimated 28 lakh homes. Under the provisions those consuming up to 400 units of electricity a month would now get a 50 per cent subsidy.

Kejriwal had, on Tuesday, expressed the hope that after the audit, there would be no need for the subsidy, adding that slashing electricity rates through subsidy was not a sustainable solution.

He said this was not a sustainable way and that was the reason an audit was needed. It was just to give some relief to the people till a long-term solution was found, he said.

Meanwhile, the capital's third electricity company, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) yesterday welcomed the move of the Delhi government to give 50 per cent subsidy on power consumption up to 400 units a month.

The discoms' accounts would be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General, from 2002 when power distribution was privatised in the national capital, Kejriwal said.

The time taken for the audit would depend on the time the discoms took for provision of relevant documents to the apex auditor.

Taking on the previous Congress government, the chief minister said, there was no High Court order restraining the previous government from ordering an audit of the discoms for the past four years. He said the present government had done within four days what the then government failed to do for years.

According to Kejriwal, the government was in talks with the Delhi IIT and Delhi College of Engineering to get the electricity meters tested due to widespread complaints against them.

He added that none of the reasons cited by the discoms was sufficient to substantiate the demand that their finances not to be audited.

Announcing several other steps, the chief minister said the government would construct 45 night shelters for the homeless in the next 48 hours at locations identified by an NGO after a survey.