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Delhi to introduce differential power tariff

August 14, 2007 09:49 IST

The power consumers of Delhi may soon stop worrying about their ever rising bills. Delhi will become the first state in the country to give its residents an option of adopting the time-of-day metering, which means shifting your peak hour activities to off-peak hours to benefit from reduced rates.

"This move will empower the consumers because with the TOD metering, they can reorganise their power intensive chores and keep their bills under check," said Rakesh Mehta, power secretary, Government of Delhi.

At present, irrespective of the pattern of consumption, all consumers have to pay a flat rate for the electricity used.

Under TOD metering, a meter that records time and energy usage is installed, replacing the existing electrical meter. There will be different tariff slabs for peak hours, off-peak hours and normal time of the day.

For example, in summers, there would be three tariff slots -- a four-hour peak time (6.30 pm to 10.30 pm), a seven-hour off-peak time (10.30 pm to 5.30 am) and a thirteen-hour normal time (5.30 am to 6.30 pm).

For almost 20 hours in a day, the tariff will be much lower than the existing tariff and consumers can benefit by shifting to off-peak hours.

Both consumers and discoms have welcomed this system, said Mehta. Utilities will benefit because they will have more power to disburse as the demand during peak hour is expected to decrease.

Besides, an expert said, TOD would also benefit the generators by flattening the load curve. Normally, the generators have to back down power during off-peak hours and have to increase production during peak hours, which is capital intensive. However, with TOD metering in place, the demand pattern will spread out evenly and all plants can run optimally.

Allaying fears that changing of meters would cost a lot, an official at The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) said that the additional cost is marginal. "Post 2005, all meters have TOD options. Many meters thus already have in-built systems, and minor changes are required in some to download data," the official added.

Teri's association with the project goes back to 2005-06, when it surveyed demand patterns in Delhi. According to Teri, Delhi's domestic peak demand was 1,850 Mw in the morning hours and 2,415 Mw in the evening hours in the summer of 2005-06, while in winters it was 2,476 Mw in the morning and 1,861 Mw in the evenings.

The residential sector contributes significantly to the peak load, which is rising every year in this city state. This year, it crossed 4,000 Mw whereas last year it was around 3,900 Mw.

Teri has proposed different peak, normal and off-peak periods to synchronise with the variation of seasonal load patterns. The rates in the off-peak and normal periods are lower than the existing rates though the rates are increased sharply during peak hours to limit the use to only essential load.

According to Mehta, the results of the survey and proposed tariffs will be forwarded to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) for approval. Initially, the proposed TOD metering would be tested on volunteers from the localities to prove its feasibility.

There is  a limit at domestic level beyond which consumers can't shift to off-peak hours. "An industry can run its operations at midnight, but a person won't switch on the geyser at 12 in the night to have a bath," said an industry official.

Although the TOD is already applicable for industrial sector in some states, this is the first time that it is being introduced in the domestic sector.

Maharshtra, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerela, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal are some of the states where TOD is being used for the industrial sector.

Sapna Dogra Singh in New Delhi