The Punjab Electricity Regulatory Authority on Tuesday reduced power tariff by 4 paise per unit upto 100 units. Meanwhile, it announced no changes in tariff above 100 units while power tariff for the farm sector has been increased by 2 paise per unit.
During the Budget session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha in March, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had said that he was expecting new tariff order to be a “balanced” one which would take into account the interests of consumers.
Opposition party Congress had accused SAD-BJP led state government of failing to provide cheap power to people despite new power plants coming up in the state.
Last year, power regulator had announced a minimal hike of 2.74 per cent in power tariff across all consumer categories in Punjab, which was the second lowest increase since 2007-08, by “heavily” slashing power utility’s losses.
In its Aggregate Revenue Requirement (ARR) petition submitted with PSERC for 2015-16 fiscal, the power utility had projected total revenue gap of Rs 11,317.78 crore up, seeking “appropriate increase” in power tariff from the power regulator to cover the proposed gap.
PSPCL had projected net revenue requirement and revenue generation of Rs 27,683.96 crore and Rs 24,414.81 crore, leading to annual revenue gap of Rs 3,269.26 crore for 2015-16.
Notably, power utility had proposed consolidated revenue gap of Rs 15,550.64 crore which was brought down by PSERC to a mere Rs 593.63 crore up to the financial year 2014-15.
The power utility has also sought recovery of Rs 391 crore from customers, which was paid for the coal extraction from Pachhwara Coal block Jharkhand after Supreme Court ordered cancellation of coal blocks last year.
The power subsidy bill on account of free power to farmers and SC and non-SC BPL domestic consumers has been projected at Rs 6,130 crore for 2015-16, up by 5 per cent from subsidy of financial year 2014-15.
Notably, Punjab government bears the entire financial burden on account of free power supply to farmers, a major vote bank for the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal.
In addition to that, free power supply of up to 200 units per month with connected load of 1,000 watt is also given to non-SC BPL and SC families in the state.