Friday, June 25, 2010

Government Planning to Fine Discoms for Outages

Around a year back when outages became order of the day, the situation normalized only after the state government intervened. The move led to regulator DERC penalizing the discom in south Delhi for ‘‘unprecedented power cuts’’ and formulating a policy which stipulated fines for discoms in case of outages in future.

According to the order passed by DERC last year, any interruption in power supply beyond 1% of the total power supplied in a month could invite penalties. With power cuts making a comeback, it remains to be seen whether action would be initiated against erring discoms this time.

DERC officials said they would have to wait for the monthly report at the end of June to see whether there was any deficiency on part of the power companies. ‘‘The data provided by the discoms will be scrutinized by us. Whether power cuts were on their account or due to reasons beyond their control is something yet to be assessed,’’ said a senior DERC official.

In a written communication to the regulator several weeks back, discoms said that power cuts in the city were mainly on account of line shutdowns by Transco and a volatile Northern Grid, which is facing pressure from all northern states. ‘‘This is what they have communicated to us but we are yet to ascertain the authenticity of their claims. They cannot be penalized if outage reasons are beyond their control,’’ added the official.

This time the regulator will also be keeping a check on the statistics submitted by the discoms using the SCADA system installed in DERC office. ‘‘Half information we get from SCADA but we rely on the discoms to provide data too. We cannot reach any conclusion till we refer to the full facts,’’ said the official.

The SCADA system installed in DERC head-office helps officials keep tabs on the power supply within the city. Apart from this, monthly reports are sent by all discoms since the power crisis in June 2009. DERC installed SCADA since some discoms were found to be manipulating data last year and the regulator wanted to ensure that it had access to all information related to power supply in Delhi.