THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the sitting of the Kerala Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) headed by chairman Preman Jinaraj coming to a close, a final decision on the hike in power charges is expected by December end and the power hike will come into force by January first week. There had been stringent opposition from people in KERC’s final sitting following the decision to increase fixed rates along with an increase in unit charges.
The suggestion of KSEB is to effect an increase of Rs 1,101.72 crore this year and Rs 700.44 crore hike next year (2020-21) as the proposal is for a period of four years on the basis of multi-year tariff principles. The suggestion to increase unit charges of power is by supporting high-end consumers while the poor and middle class consumers will face the brunt of the hike.
KSEB has suggested a hike of 10 paise to 60 paise per unit for houses which will lead to a quantum jump for consumers using electricity up to 200 units for this year and next year. For consumers whose power consumption is above 200 units, there will only be a marginal increase in power charges .
Consumers using more than 350 units will have a reduction of 5 paise per unit this year, while there will be no hike next year. Those using 500 units and above will have a reduction of 60 paise per unit. The rate of industries will be reduced from Rs 5.50 per unit to Rs 5 per unit. Next year, it will be reduced to `4.50 per unit.
Other than the electricity charges, a huge hike in fixed charges, besides demand charges for industrial units, is also suggested. Dijo Kappen, who appeared for domestic consumers, said KSEB’s suggestions to reduce power charges for high-end domestic consumers and industrial consumers was against Left Government policies. He said 80 per cent of the hike is for domestic consumers who are using less power.
Another consumer Alexander from Pala said KSEB was yet to get an arrears of Rs 550 crore from consumers and it had not taken any steps to retrieve it.
“The KSEB is not taking any step to vacate court stays in cases related to revenue recovery of pending bills. A sum of Rs 225 crore is to be obtained through revenue recovery. Why isn’t KSEB is not taking action against high default industries whose dues would run into crores of rupees?” he said.