PSEB leaves tariff revision entirely on PSERC

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Patiala Feb 15 (UNI) Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has not sought any hike in power tariff in its petition filed before the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) leaving the matter of tariff revision entirely on PSERC.

The Board has explained in its petition filed on Tuesday that it has an annual revenue requirement (ARR) of Rs 13,513 crore for the 2008-09 financial year and additional revenue of Rs 5,254 crore needed for the next financial year.

The tariff petition was presented after a delay of over two months when the Commission asked the board to do so.

The PSEB has demanded an increase of Rs 5,254 crore in revenue to run its affairs for the next financial year.

Going by the existing tariff, the power board plans to generate a revenue of Rs 11,398 crore in the coming year, while estimated expenditure has been pegged at Rs 13,513 crore.

This means a revenue gap of Rs 2,115 for 2008-09. The board has also brought on record a sum of Rs 2,035 crore as pending revenue gap of 2006-07 and Rs 1,103 crore for 2007-08.

The PSERC has taken a strict view of the subsidy to farm sector and others and had asked the government to inform it about the schedule being followed to pay the subsidy to Punjab State electricity Board (PSEB).

PSEB has informed PSERC that Punjab Government has already cleared Rs 703 crore and recently they have received Rs 390 crore from the government.

Punjab government had to give Rs 2548 crore to PSEB in account to free power to farmers and others by Dec 31, 2007. It has not been able to release the entire payment due to precarious financial position of the state treasury, despite orders by the regulatory commission.

According to sources, PSERC has asked for a Rs 2.40 paisa a unit tariff for the farm sector.

The overwhelming view in the government is that it could subside tariff by 60 paisa a unit, after which the government's liability, which stood at about Rs 2,136 crore annually, will come down to about Rs 500 crore.

The state Principal Secretary, Power, recently wrote a letter to the finance department in this connection.

However, the finance department is yet to respond, sources said.

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