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Power Ministry calls for explanation from regulator

Smriti Kak Ramachandran

For its failure to carry out third party energy audits

NEW DELHI: The Union Power Ministry has written to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission to ensure that independent third party energy audits are carried out. Having discovered that several State electricity regulatory bodies have been conducting the audits in-house, the Ministry has shot off a letter to all the SERCs including DERC to ensure compliance.

According to sources, a Standing Committee on Energy (2009-10) has recommended that all regulatory bodies should get independent third party energy audits conducted for scrutiny and analysis of financial and technical data submitted by the licensees.

“The DERC had not considered it necessary to verify the energy audits submitted through third party. The recommendation was made with the consumer interest in sight,” said sources.

Asking all SERCs to follow the recommendation, the Ministry has asked DERC to file a reply by August 16 on why it has not considered auditing of the accounts as mentioned. “The Committee has been surprised with the reply that was earlier submitted by DERC that it does not consider it necessary to conduct third party audits. It has now been asked to submit an explanation and the Ministry itself has issued directions to ensure compliance,” sources said.

The Forum of Regulators in a report has emphasised the need for a third party audit of the technical and financial data submitted by the utility before such data is taken into account for determination of tariff. It had also pointed out that services of institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology and other engineering colleges can be utilised for these audits. “A recent scrutiny of the records of the SERCs has revealed that most of them are yet to comply with the recommendation as per the terms of the tariff policy,” sources said.

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