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'Objective of New Power Tariff policy defeated'

By Staff
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Bangalore, Feb 23 (UNI) The very purpose of the New Power Tariff Policy, notified by the Centre last year to ensure quality power supply at competitive rates, is defeated with the country's power situation not being conducive following acute shortage of power, Independent Power Producers Association of India Director General Harry Dhaul opined today.

Speaking at a conference of the Association on ''The New Tariff Policy and its Impact on the Power Sector'' here, he said people were burdened with 15 to 20 per cent tariff hike every year, thus defeating the intention of the policy itself.

Emphasising the need for public-private partnership in the sector for achieving the desired ten per cent growth, he, however, lamented that the private sector was not treated on par with the public sector in provision of sops.

Mr Ajit Pandit of ABPS Infrastructure Advisory, in his address, said the new policy envisaged different tariff levels for agricultural consumption in different parts of a state depending on the water table level to prevent depletion of ground water.

He suggested that a high level of subsidy could be considered for poor farmers residing in areas where ground water level was low. The state governments could decide on the extent of subsidy for different categories of consumers, keeping in view relevant aspects, he said.

Mr Pandit opined that subsidised rates of electricity could be permitted only up to a pre-identified level of consumption, beyond which tariffs reflecting efficient cost of service should be charged. If the state governments desired to reimburse even this cost to weaker sections of the society, the amount could be paid in cash or any other suitable way.

Use of pre-paid meters could also facilitate this transfer of subsidy to such consumers, he added.

However, he was against providing free electricity as it encouraged wasteful consumption and depleting the water table.

Referring to resistance shown by farmers against fixing meters, he said metering of supply to agricultural consumers could be achieved in a consumer-friendly and effective manner by managing distribution in rural areas through commercial arrangement with franchisees involving panchayat raj institutions, user association and cooperative societies.

Use of self closing load limiters should be encouraged as a cost effective option for metering in cases of 'Limited use consumers' eligible for subsidised electricity, he added.

UNI MV RG-GD SC RS1746

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