Thiruvananthapuram: A steep 30 per cent hike in power charges across the board has been effected on various categories of domestic and non-domestic consumers in Kerala.
The hike, announced by the state Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) on Thursday, also introduced "fixed charges" of Rs 20 for single phase and Rs 60 for third phase connections.
The hike, to come into effect from July 1, comes at a time when Kerala is heading towards a grim power crisis with fast depleting storage levels in reservoirs due to a 40 per cent deficiency in South West monsoon rains.
A SERC press release said tariff for consumers would go up from a minimum of 35 paise to a maximum of Rs 1.50. For above 500 units, it would be Rs 6.50 per unit. Power cost for High Tension users would go up from Rs 2.70 per unit to Rs 4.10.
Extra high tension consumers, using 66 and 110 KV lines, would have to pay an additional 44 paise as demand charge and an increase of Rs 1.10 per unit for energy charge, it said.
The increase is estimated to net an additional revenue of Rs 1,676.84 core a year for the Kerala State Electricity Board, which would offset its revenue deficit of Rs 1,889 crore this year, SERC said.
The hike also covers all categories of consumers such as agriculture, Low Tension industries, all types of non-domestic consumers like old age homes and orphanages and all categories of commercial establishments.
SERC noted it had factored in the concept of phasing out cross-subsidy while working out the tariff rates and that such a comprehensive revision was taken up after a 10 year gap.
The commission finalised the upward revision on the basis of proposals submitted by KSEB and after public hearing.
The CPI(M)-led LDF opposition came down heavily on the UDF government for the hike, effected a day after the monsoon session of the State Assembly was adjourned.