Power rates up by 2.74% in Punjab; rebate for consuming more

Power regulator PSERC on Friday announced a 2.74 percent hike in power tariff across all consumer categories in Punjab for the year 2014-15.

Chandigarh: Power regulator PSERC on Friday announced a 2.74 percent hike in power tariff across all consumer categories in Punjab for the year 2014-15.

This is considered one of the lowest increases in the past several years and was undertaken through "heavily" slashing the power utility`s losses.
Besides, the power regulator also announced consumer friendly measures such as a rebate of Rs 1 per unit in tariff for consumers to encourage them to consume more energy.

The Punjab power utility is estimating a surplus power situation during the winter season.
Announcing the power tariff for 2014-15 fiscal, Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) Chairperson Romila Dubey said, "there is an increase of 2.74 percent in power tariff for the year 2014-15 to meet (PSPCL`s) consolidated revenue gap of Rs 593.63 crore for the year."

The "minimal" increase in power tariff was possible as PSERC brought down the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited`s (PSPCL) projected consolidated revenue gap of Rs 15,550.64 crore to mere Rs 593.63 crore.

This is after "true-up" of the PSPCL`s financials for the year 2010-11 and 2011-12 and review of 2013-14.

Dubey attributed the delay in the announcement of power tariff for 2014-15 to the code of conduct coming in place ahead of Lok Sabha polls, non-passing of the state budget and then the by-polls in Punjab.

She further said that the commission was ready with the power tariff, but it did not receive the consent from Punjab government with regard to bearing power subsidy burden.

Not announcing any hike in tariff for the first slab (0-100 units) of domestic supply consumers, the commission raised the power tariff in the range of 11-13 paise per kWh for all categories except agricultural pumpset (AP) category which was raised higher.
The power tariff for AP or agriculture category was increased by 31 paise per unit.

The new power tariff will be effective from April, 2014.

However, the power regulator has worked out the total power subsidy at Rs 4,951.14 crore including free power to farmers at Rs 4,454.54 crore and Rs 654.86 crore for free supply up to 200 units to SC domestic consumers and non-SC BPL consumers per month with connected load up to 1000 watts for the year 2014-15.

The power subsidy burden on account of free power to farmers is estimated lesser for 2014-15 as against subsidy burden of Rs 4,778.13 crore in 2013-14 as the power regulator determined the AP power consumption from AP feeders rather than taking sample meters into consideration.

Among new consumer friendly measures, the power regulator announced rebate of Rs 1 per unit (kWh) for all categories except street lighting and AP categories for consuming power exceeding the threshold limit.

The threshold limit will be calculated after considering consumers` power consumption in the past three years.