FSA: Urban poor to pay for rural rich

Published: 20th August 2012 11:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th August 2012 11:31 AM   |  A+A-

If you have a domestic power connection and do not have any agricultural land, yet, you may have to pay for power consumption by farmers for agricultural purpose. This is because the state government, which is supplying free power to the agricultural sector, is passing on the fuel surcharge adjustment burden to the domestic consumers.

The domestic power consumers have three counts to worry on. One, they have to pay Rs 2,165.98 crore towards FSA for the first quarter of 2012-13; two, nearly half of the burden came from the agricultural sector; and  third, a consumer, if shifted to a new rented house recently,is paying the FSA of previous occupant.

The major worry of domestic consumers is that they have to pay the FSA amounts of the agricultural sector. Even if a poor man living in a hut in a city will be forced to pay the FSA amount of a rich landlord in a village.

It may be recalled that the state government was supplying free power to around 32 lakh borewells in the state. However, there is no mechanism available with the power utility to quantify the power consumption by the farmers. Thus, it is adding the FSA amounts of the farmers to domestic and industrial consumers.  The domestic power consumers, especially the poor, are burdened by this.

It was not just to pass the agricultural burden on to domestic consumers. When the government is giving free power to agriculture, it should bear or reimburse the FSA amount of the agricultural sector, says People’s Monitoring Group on Electricity Regulation convener M Thimma Reddy.  Telangana Electricity Employees JAC leader K Raghu says domestic consumers should be exempted from FSA of agriculture consumers.

According to APERC guidelines, the FSA, as worked out, will be distributed among all categories of consumers that existed in the quarter. However, the consumption by the agricultural sector will be taken as estimated by distribution licences and approved by the commission till the commission is satisfied that metering of agricultural consumption is complete.

But, consumers argue that the government, if wanted to reimburse the FSA amount of the farm sector, can do it without meters. In the first quarter , April to June, the demand for power by farmers was at its peak.

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