New Delhi: The Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit slammed the Aam Aadmi Party by alleging that the Kejriwal-led party had indulged in an ‘open loot’ by way of fixed charges and a pension fund surcharge in the electricity bills. This was done in favour of the power distribution companies, alleged Dikshit.

Besides, the Congress chief asked Delhiites to refrain from paying their electricity bills until the extra amount charged is adjusted in the bills. Refuting the allegations, party spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj reportedly said that Dikshit will discuss the issue with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday. Meanwhile, the Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari on Friday had also accused the state government of hiking the fixed charges in connivance with the power companies.

The Delhi Congress’ working president Haroon Yusuf accused the AAP government of “befooling people” and getting them to install lakhs of power meters in JJ clusters, unauthorised colonies, and elsewhere. “After the meters were installed, the fixed charge component of power tariff was raised causing a lot of trouble to the poor. This money is going to the discoms,” he alleged.

“Now, in the run-up to the (assembly) elections, Kejriwal has been saying he will ask the regulator to roll back the hike in the fixed charge,” Yusuf said.

During a public meeting on June 1, Kejriwal claimed the DERC had raised the fixed charge component of power tariff last year “without consulting the Delhi government”. “New tariff rates will be fixed next month. We have asked the DERC to bring the fixed charges to previous levels and they are likely to agree to it,” he had said.

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) is the competent authority for fixing power consumption rates in the national capital. The DERC had in March 2018, raised the monthly fixed charges for domestic consumers having up to 2kW load from Rs 20 to Rs 125.

The Delhi government provides subsidy to such consumers. However, in other categories, consumers pay higher fixed charges. The hike in the fixed charges for other slabs were – for 2-5 kW from Rs 35 to Rs 140; 5-15 kW Rs 45 to Rs 175; 15-25 kW from Rs 60 to Rs 200; and for more than 25 kW, from Rs 100 to Rs 250.

An official in the power department said that the DERC fixes power tariffs and the government cannot influence its decisions in any way. The five discoms in the national capital only follows the recommendations of the power regulator.

(With agency inputs)