Power tariff is set to increase again in the Union Territory, even as the people of Puducherry are yet to comprehend the high rates that followed a revision effected from the current year, apart from the additional surcharge.
The Electricity Department is to file a petition in this regard before the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) in the next two to three months, sources in the department told Express. The reason being the shortfall in revenue. The tariff revision is planned for 2014-2015.
Meanwhile, the Opposition alleged in the Assembly that the tariff hike is due to the Electricity Department’s plan to raise the salary of employees.
Speaking on the issue, both AIADMK floor leader A Anbazhagan, and Congress MLA and former Education Minister K Lakshminarayanan said that though the inclusion of salary component might be included in the guidelines of the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC), it must be taken into consideration that electricity services in Puducherry were being extended by a government department and not corporations, unlike in other States.
The Electricity Department presented this clause in the petition and obtained the steep hike which was unfair, Lakshminarayanan said.
Objecting to the Rs 35- Rs 50 per cent hike in power tariff under different categories, Anbazhagan said that for the year 2012-2013, the revenue required for power purchase was Rs 964 crore, while the revenue generated was Rs 921 crore.
When the shortfall was only Rs 43 crore, what was the need for to raise Rs 430 crore by taxing the consumers through a steep enhancement of power tariff, he asked.
Further, he claimed that there were 21 per cent of defective meters on account of which there was deficit collection of tariff in the UT.
Arrears to the tune of Rs160 crore was due to the department from industries and other consumers.
This had caused the shortfall and the burden had been shifted on the consumers for no fault of theirs.