NEW DELHI Feb 4 The government of India's
capital, Delhi, has asked the region's power regulator to scrap
the licences of electricity distribution companies if they fail
to supply power to the city.
The request is the latest muscle-flexing between the newly
elected Aam Aadmi Party, which leads the government in Delhi,
and two power distribution companies, BSES Yamuna Power Ltd and
BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, run by billionaire Anil Ambani's
Reliance Infrastructure Ltd.
It comes two days after state-run power producer NTPC Ltd
said BSES Yamuna Power, which sells electricity in the
central and eastern parts of the city of about 16 million
people, must clear its dues or else supplies would be cut from
The row could result in an outage of up to 10 hours a day,
exacerbating the problems of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind
Kejriwal, elected in part on a promise of cutting electricity
tariffs for millions of Delhi's voters.
Citing lower tariffs and a shortfall in revenues, BSES
Yamuna Power has already expressed its inability to pay
state-run power generation companies.
Delhi's power secretary, Puneet Goel, said in a letter to
the power regulator on Monday that if the distribution companies
continued their stand, the regulator "may not have an
alternative but to suspend their licences immediately".
"Extensive blackouts in the capital city of the country due
to financial difficulties of the these two (companies) is not
acceptable," Goel said in the letter.
In the event of the licences being revoked, "suitable
officers" would be appointed to administer the distribution
companies and keep power switched on, Goel said.
The companies said the matter had not been discussed in
"We are deeply committed to the consumers of Delhi, and have
served them for over 10 years and reduced power losses to the
tune of nearly 35,000 crores rupees (350 billion rupees) which
have accrued as savings to Delhi Govt," a spokesman for BSES
Yamuna said in a statement.
Reliance Infrastructure runs the distribution companies,
with the Delhi government holding a 49 percent stake.
Kejriwal, a former anti-corruption activist, in December
asked the state auditor to look into the accounts of power
distribution companies to see if they were profiteering. The
companies have challenged the move in court.
(Reporting By Sruthi Gottipati and Devidutta Tripathy; Editing
by Angus MacSwan)