In early February 2014, Delhi was on the verge of a blackout. I had just become the chief minister and electricity distribution companies (discoms) had threatened to push more than half of the city into darkness, citing inability to pay for purchase of power. This was after five years of continuous hikes in power tariffs, which had already made Delhi’s power unaffordable. Despite the extreme tariff hikes, discoms were claiming to be short on cash. The blackout could only have been stopped, they said, if the government bailed out companies. Discoms had extracted ₹500 crore from the Delhi government in 2011 under similar circumstances. Not only did we refuse to give in to these demands, we also pushed harder for a Comptroller and Auditor General audit of their accounts.
What we inherited in February 2015 was a system plagued by years of corruption, incentivised inefficiency and large-scale over-reporting of losses. Delhi’s discoms reported regulatory assets (dues owed by the people of Delhi to the discoms) of ₹11,406 crore the year we were elected. Read More
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