The power distribution companies (discoms) have proposed to deliver a sledgehammer blow on consumers by imposing a burden of around Rs 13,000 crore on various categories of consumers from April 1, 2013.
The discoms have proposed to introduce a non-telescopic billing system, which is an indirect way of raising the power bills. The present billing system is the telescoping billing system under which consumers pay the tariff as per the slab. For example, if a consumer uses 150 units of power, they will pay Rs 1.45 per unit for the first 50 units, Rs 2.60 for next 50 units and Rs 3.60 for next 50 units. But under the proposed system, there will not be such slabs and if a consumer uses 150 units, then he/she will have to pay Rs 3.60 for the entire 150 units. Thus a consumer who uses 100 units currently and pays Rs 202.5 as bill, will have to shell out Rs 260 in the next financial year for the same 100 units.
The tariff hike proposal submitted by the discoms to the AP Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) on Saturday appears on the face of it to have spared the poor and the lower middle class. But the introduction of the non-telescopic billing method would ensure that they too would have to spend more.
In the Aggregate Revenue Requirement (ARRs) for the year 2013-14 that was submitted to the APERC, the discom officials said that the cost to service per unit is around Rs 5.25 per unit. The discoms are expecting a revenue deficit of Rs 18,000 crore for the next fiscal. However, with the government subsidy to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore, the discoms are left with a Rs 13,000 crore deficit, which they want to impose on the consumers.
The officials of AP Transco and other discoms were in touch with chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy during the last three days and he is reported to have given them the go-ahead for all proposals. The state government, however, does not intend to change its policy of supplying free power to agriculture consumers.