Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission directed to disclose information on tariff issues in simple and easy language

Central Information Commission (CIC): CIC has directed Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) to disclose public information on distribution companies’ (DISCOMs) tariff petitions in simple and easy language with analysis and explanations so that a common man may understand and respond, before inviting their objections and views. The Commission was hearing a complaint filed by an activist who alleged that as the necessary information has not been placed in public domain by DERC which has sought people’s opinion on the tariff fixation; it was a violation of mandatory disclosure clause of the RTI Act. It was further alleged that if DERC applies the tariff fixation without disclosing the complete information and hearing the objections, it would cause irreparable loss to the consumers in Delhi and will result in undue benefits to the distribution companies. Earlier, the complainant had filed RTI application seeking information on Distribution Transformer Wise negative losses in respect of BRPL, BYPL, TPDDL for the year 2011-12 but was informed that comprehensive analysis of the losses in respect of DTs which record high losses while taking the energy supplied from the DTs would be submitted for further directions of the Commission but was not submitted. After perusal of relevant material on record and provisions of Electricity Act, 2003 and RTI Act, CIC observed that, “Under Section 4(1)(c) of RTI Act, read with relevant provisions of the Electricity Act, DERC has a responsibility to provide complete information about tariff fixation, which is something that affects millions of power consumers in the national capital.” The Commission also observed that Section 64(3) of Electricity Act mandates the DERC to publish the application, in such abridged form and manner as may be specified by the Commission. While rejecting the claim of DERC that details cannot be shared before a decision is taken, CIC noted that DERC has a mandate to inform the people while formulating the tariff because it is seeking their objections and views, which cannot be given without complete information. The Commission further directed DERC to pro-actively disclose information on controversial points like prudence check on electricity companies, non-submission of report on prudence check by consultant PWC, Income Tax issues, cost incurred by discoms in contesting cases in Supreme Court against CAG audit and CIC decision making them answerable under the RTI Act, among others. CIC also directed DERC to explain to the public the impact of these factors on consumer interests vis-a-vis profits earned by DISCOMs so that people and stakeholders can provide their views or objections based on a complete understanding of the matter. Anil Sood v. Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, 2015 SCC OnLine CIC 609, decided on 09.05.2015

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