Patiala, Jun 11: The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has approved the call back overdue loans to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) for adjustment against subsidy to neutralise the increase in the tariffs for the year 2007-08.
In its recent order, PSERC chairman Jai Singh Gill and members Baljit Bains and Satpal Singh Pall said that the Commission had observed that the payment of subsidy to the extent of Rs 2848.04 crore, including Rs 292.66 crore for neutralising the increase of tariff for 2007-08 had indeed been effected by the state government, as accepted and confirmed by the Board.
''Therefore, it is hereby ordered that the Board will charge the tariffs from all categories of consumers from September 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008 without enhancement,'' official sources here said.
The Commission observed that ''government is within its rights to call back overdue loans to the Board if it chooses to do so. It is possible that such actions on the part of the government will have repercussions on the Board in so far as its borrowing power is concerned as also its ability to raise additional resources from the market to a corresponding extent, but these are issues which are to be mutually resolved between the Government and the Board.'' The Commission in its Tariff Order dated September 17, 2007 for the year 2007-08 approved tariffs of the PSEB for various categories of consumers.
The tariffs were made applicable with effect from September 1, 2007 and with the increased tariff, recovery of additional revenue of Rs 423.78 crore was envisaged. Out of this additional revenue, an amount of Rs 131.12 crore was on account of increase in tariff for Agricultural Pumpset (AP) consumers against which full subsidy was payable by the Punjab Government.
The Government in its letter dated September 10, 2007 had committed to pay Rs 2548.73 crore as subsidy determined by the Commission during the year 2007-08 including the additional revenue of Rs 131.12 crore accruing from enhanced AP tariff, with effect from September 1, 2007.
The Commission in another order dated September 13, 2007, passed in compliance with the directions of the Appellate Tribunal dated May 26, 2006 decided that the Government will make payment of subsidy in quarterly installments at the beginning of each quarter and the amount to be paid to the Board for each quarter will be one fourth of the total amount of subsidy payable in a particular year as determined by the Commission.