Jaipur, Feb 26: Criticising the State government for raising the power tariff by an average of 16.89 per cent, the Opposition members in Rajasthan Assembly demanded the roll back of the hikes and asked the BJP dispensation to follow the AAP's power-model in Delhi.
Congress MLA Pradhyuman Singh said it was a steep rise in power bills which affected all sectors agriculture, domestic and commercial.
Singh demanded that like Delhi government, the Rajasthan government should also conduct audit of all power companies to review their losses.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Independent MLA Hanuman Beniwal criticised the government for not providing more than six hours of power on agriculture connection. For the first time the farmers were brought under a tariff hike of 19 per cent, he said.
Though Beniwal's Adjournment Motion was rejected but he was allowed to raise the issue. He said that like the AAP government in Delhi, Rajasthan should also waive 50 per cent of power bill for farmers and contain the Transmission and Distribution (T&D) losses which was up to 26 per cent.
National People's Party MLA Naveen Pilania accused the ruling BJP for putting power tariff burden on farmers. Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) announced revised power tariffs for different consumer categories, permitting Discoms to increase domestic electricity charges by around 16% (85 paise per unit) and non-domestic usages charges by around 19%.
The average increase for all categories is 16.89%. The fixed charges too were increased for all categories - the hike ranging between Rs 20 and Rs 50 per connection per month.
In response to the Opposition's charges, Minister of State for Energy Pushpendra Singh did not make any comment on the withdrawal of tariff hike but said the government would try to reduce the T&D losses to 15 per cent in coming years.
Beniwal criticised the govt for not providing more than 6 hours of power
Singh said that as compared to other states, Rajasthan's power tariff hike was nominal and affordable for customers. Singh tried to justify the hike arguing that all Discoms combined were facing a net loss of Rs 77,453 cr in 2013-14 as compared to a loss of Rs 15643 cr in 2008-09, and cost of power generation has gone up.
He also said that domestic sector gets up to 21-22 hours power supply and a 6-7 hours power supply in two phases is maintained for agricultural purposes. The state government increased its subsidy from Rs 5,200 cr to Rs 6,200 cr last year, he added.
The revised tariff is expected increase overall revenue by Rs 4,498 crore for financial year 2014-15, leaving a deficit of Rs 334 crore. Since the revised tariffs were affected from February 1, 2015, the increase in the revenue for the balance period of the current financial year would be Rs 750 crore.
The assessed overall net deficit would be Rs 4,082 crore for all Discoms.