CHANDIGARH: Consumers will have to shell out more for electricity as sectoral regulator Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) today announced a hike in power tariff by 9.33 per cent for 2017-18.
However, opposition parties AAP, SAD and BJP condemned the hike in power tariff, saying the Congress government had yet again "deceived" people by increasing tariff for both domestic and industrial supply.
The new tariff order will be implemented with retrospective effect from April 1 this year.
Although the increase in electricity charges will be recovered from consumers in installments over a period of nine months, said PSERC chairperson Kusumjit Kaur Sidhu here today.
As per new tariff, the tariff for domestic consumers has been increased between 7 per cent and 12 per cent. The proposed increase has been in the range of 46 paise per unit to 80 paise per unit.
For industrial sector, the power tariff has been increased by 8.50 per cent to 12 per cent while for commercial category, the electricity rates have been jacked up by 8 to 11 per cent, PSERC chairperson said.
For industrial category, the increase per unit is in the range of 54 paise to 65 paise per unit and for commercial sector, the proposed increase is in the range of 57 paise to 72 paise per unit.
For the agriculture sector, the proposed tariff has been increased by 48 paise per unit to 506 paise a unit.
Notably, farmers are provided free power by the government. The state government has pegged the subsidy burden on account of free power at Rs 6,000 crore for 2017-18.
For the bulk supply, the power rate has been increased in the range of 10.52 per cent to 11.08 per cent.
The fixed charges will be in the range of Rs 20 per kW to Rs 60 kVA for domestic supply, Rs 50 to 100 per kVA for commercial supply and Rs 85 to 295 per kVA for industrial category including bulk supply, as per the order.
The hike in power tariff was announced after a gap of three years, said the PSERC chairperson.
Addressing media persons here, Sidhu said the consolidated gap of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited was worked out at Rs 2,522.62 crore against power utility's proposal of Rs 11,575.53 crore.
"This new tariff is fixed for one year 2017-18," said the chairperson.
However, expenditure of three years has been finalized and annual revenue requirement (ARR) has also been fixed but not tariff for next two years, she added.
The net revenue requirement for PSPCL has been worked out at Rs 28,910.35 crore, Rs 30,241.30 crore and Rs 31,739.58 crore for 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively.
It was also for the first time that the regulator came out with two-part tariff for all categories except for the agriculture sector.
The two part tariff structure envisages a fixed charge and a variable charge which has been adopted by almost all the states in line with national tariff policy, she said.
The power subsidy burden for the year 2017-18 has been estimated at Rs 10,970 crore including free power to farmers, subsidized power to SC/BC and arrears of Rs 2,800 crore.
However, the subsidy burden does not include the subsidised power at the rate of Rs 5 per unit to industrial category which has been announced by Congress led government in Punjab.
Meanwhile, former deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today demanded immediate withdrawal of the "draconian" power tariff hike.
In a statement here, the former deputy CM said chief minister Amarinder Singh had made an announcement one month after assuming power that all consumers would be supplied power at the rate of Rs 5 per unit.
AAP MLA and leader of opposition in Punjab assembly Sukhpal Khaira while condemned the hike in power tariff said it will further dd to the woes of common people who are already facing "steep" inflation. "We demand its rollback," he said.