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Power rates set to be revised in Punjab

New tariff to be announced Monday.

With electricity regulator PSERC deciding set to announce power tariffs for 2015-16 fiscal on Monday, sources indicate that rates are likely to be hiked marginally.

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Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has so far refused to divulge quantum of hike in power tariff, but official sources hint that the hike unlikely to be substantial, given last year’s hike of merely 2.74 per cent.

“The electricity tariff order for 2015-16 will be announced on May 5,” said a PSERC official on Monday, adding that views of all stakeholders have been taken on board while determining the new tariff.

The new tariff rates will be effective from April 2015.

During the Budget session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha in March, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had said that he was expecting the new tariff order to be a balanced one that 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 hike of 2.74 per cent in power tariff across all consumer categories in Punjab, 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 a revenue gap of Rs 11,317.78 crore up, seeking an increase in power tariff from the power regulator to bridge the deficit.

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 brought down 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 (SAD).

In addition, 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.

The state’s industry has been opposing any hike in power tariff, saying that power rates in Punjab are already quite high as compared to other states. — PTI


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