Domestic, industrial power consumers to pay more in Punjab

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Chandigarh, Sep 19: After reviewing the fiscal crunch of the state electricity board, the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission today recommended a hike in power tarrif for all categories of consumers, including the agricultural sector which is being supplied power free of cost.

Tariff rates for first slab of domestic consumers would go up by 8.4 per cent as per the recommendations of the Commission. In case of agricultural sector (tubewells), it would be up by 12 per cent and for all other categories by seven per cent has been proposed.

The combined average cost of supply for the year 2007-08 works out to 343.99 paise per unit against 329.94 paise per unit worked out last year, Commission Chairman Jai Singh Gill said while addressing a press conference here.

While pointing out that there was an overall revenue deficit of Rs 423.78 crore, Mr Gill said it was proposed to be covered by increase in tariff. The revenue deficit of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) was calculated after combining effects of true up exercise for the year 2005-06, review of Annual Revenue Requirement (ARR) for the year 2006-07 and the revenue gap of Rs 87.21 crore for the year 2007-08.

The new tariff order and the higher rates will be applicable from September one.

Domestic suppliers who were paying at the rate of Rs 2.21 per unit for the first 100 units would now have to pay Rs 2.40 per unit.

Non Residential consumers who were being charged at Rs 4.23 per unit would have to dish out 30 paisa more.

The Commission has recommended a tarrif of Rs 2.40 per unit for agriculture tubewell operators, an increase of 14 paisa per unit over the previous year. The government, however, is supplying power free of cost to the tubewell operators.

Likewise an increase of 24 paisa per unit for small scale industries and 26 paisa per unit for medium and general industries has been recommended by the Commission.

Domestic consumers belonging to SC category and non-SC BPL domestic consumers with connected load of up to 1,000 watts will be given 200 units free power per month as per the state government order.

Giving details of the recommendations, Mr Gill said for determining the ARR of the PSEB, the Commission had undertaken detailed analysis of justified costs of the Board under each head for the current year as well as a true up exercise for the year 2005-06 (on the basis of actual audited figures supplied by the Board) and review for the year 2006-07 (on the basis of revised estimates supplied by the Board).

The AAR of the Board for the year 2007-08 was determined at Rs 9,616.89 crore against Rs 11,861.05 crore proposed by the PSEB.

The revenue gap for the year 2007-08 had been worked out at Rs 87.21 crore against Rs 24,23.11 crore proposed by the Board.

''The combined effect of true up exercise for 2005-06 and review for the year 2006-07 is a deficit of Rs 336.57 crore for these years'', he said.

The total amount of government subsidy for free supply to agricultural pumpset consumers for the current year works out to Rs 1,988.15 crore, which the government has committed to the Board, he pointed out. In addition, the government has committed to pay Rs 130.95 crore for free supply of 200 units per month to SC domestic consumers and non-SC-BPL consumers with a connected load up to 1,000 watts, he added.

''The government has also committed to pay the balance subsidy amounting to Rs 421.99 crore for the last fiscal'' he added.

Other than the determination of tariff, some important issues dealt with in the Tariff Order include parallel operation charges. Captive power plants/cogeneration plants have been exempted from payment of Parallel Operation Charges which are payable every month at the rate of Rs 200 per KVA on five per cent of the capacity of the captive/cogeneration plant, The Commission Chairman said.

While pointing out that to encourage availability of additional power in the state through open access by the consumers, the commission has reviewed the open access regulations, Mr Gill said adding that the consumers opting for short term open access are liable to pay transmission and wheeling charges. The transmission and wheeling charges have been reduced from 25 per cent to 20 per cent of the aggregate of transmission and wheeling charges, he added.

Transmission and distribution losses (T and D) for consumers catered supply at 66 KV, T and D losses had been reduced from 50 per cent to 30 per cent. Since Punjab is a power deficit state, as such cross subsidy surcharge should be substantially low, he added.

Mr Gill said the combined effect of this review is that an Open Access customer who was required to pay about 50 paise/unit for short term and 54 paise/unit for long term in addition to 50 per cent of the normative T and D losses under the earlier regulations would be paying only 10 paise/unit for short term and 16 paise/unit for long term open access.

Under the amended regulations, T and D losses will be leviable at the rate of 30 per cent of the normative T and D losses for voltage upto 66 KV and 50 per cent of the normative T and D losses for voltage below 66 KV, he added.

UNI

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