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With Centre’s deadline looming, loss-making TANGEDCO may up power tariff

Although the Electricity Act mandates charges be updated every year, TANGEDCO has failed to do so in the past two years.

Published: 09th December 2021 05:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th December 2021 05:33 AM   |  A+A-

TANGEDCO (Representational image)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) is likely to commence the process to hike electricity tariff in the State soon. This follows an instruction by the Union government to the loss-making power utility to revise the tariff by February 15, 2022.

Although the Electricity Act mandates charges be updated every year, TANGEDCO has failed to do so in the past two years. It has also not submitted its balance sheet to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) every April, as required, in the past couple of years. Sources in TANGEDCO said it can hike power charges by up to 20 per cent as per the Act, but is yet to submit a proposal before TNERC in this regard. It has run up a massive Rs 1.5 lakh crore loss since 2008-09.

Central Power Minister Raj Kumar Singh recently said loans of Rs 34,936.64 crore lent by the Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and Rs 36,970 crore provided by the Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd (REC) to TANGEDCO are still pending as on November 30, 2021.

“Besides, special long-term transition loans worth Rs 26,428 crore have also been disbursed by PFC and REC to TANGEDCO,” he said. The Centre also reminded the PSU that installation of smart meters in State departments, Urban Local Bodies and Panchayat Raj Institutions is mandatory by 2023-24 to avoid revenue leakage.

While, the TNERC may suo motu increase tariffs without TANGEDCO’s nod – as it did in December 2014 – it has not taken any decision on this in the last two years. The tariff has been updated four times in the last 11 years – in August 2010, April 2012, December 2014 and August 2017. When contacted, Rajesh Lakhoni, Chairman and Managing Director of TANGEDCO, refused to share any details. He said he had no idea of the tariff hike.

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