Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Friday asked people to reduce consumption of electricity or be ready to pay a higher price in form of surcharge even as he asserted that free power supply to the agriculture sector would continue.
"We are facing an unprecedented power crisis. The state is now purchasing 35 million units of power at the rate of Rs 8 per unit. People have to pay the price for this. The other option for them is to reduce usage," he said in an informal chat with newspersons here.
Power distribution companies recently levied Fuel Surcharge Adjustment (FSA) of Rs 6,022 crore on consumers for fiscal 2010-11, which will be collected till September 2014.
In addition, Rs 1,800 crore is being levied as FSA for the first quarter of the current fiscal year, while another Rs 980 crore will be levied for the second quarter.
Besides, another Rs 1,400 crore is due for collection for FY 2009-10 but it has been put on hold because of a case pending in the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
"The Government is spending about Rs 6,000 crore this year for purchase of additional power to bridge the demand and supply gap. People have to pay extra money for power or reduce usage," the Chief Minister said, when asked about the heavy financial burden on people on account of FSA levy.
Questioned about Finance Minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy`s observation that the current electricity crisis was a result of free power supply to the farm sector, the Chief Minister maintained that the scheme would continue.
"We have treated free power supply (to farm sector) as a necessity. I explained to the Planning Commission for half-an-hour recently the need for free power. The scheme will continue and not even be diluted," Kiran asserted.
The current power crisis was due to reduction in generation because of non-availability of fuel, including gas and coal, he noted.