Saturday, May 24, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PSERC orders 6-13 pc hike
Power costlier in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) today passed an order increasing the power tariff by 6 to 13 per cent for various categories of consumers, except for the agricultural sector, from May 1. The Punjab State Electricity Board will be able to generate an additional revenue of Rs 351.17 crore due to the revised tariff in the current financial year.

For the domestic sector, the increase will be 8 to 13 per cent. For the first 100 units, the new rate will be 206 paise per unit against Rs 182 paise now, for 101 to 300 units the new rate is 344 paise per unit against 304 paise, and above 300 units the rate has been hiked from 337 paise to 364 paise. For public lighting and the non-residential sector, the tariff has been increased from 393 paise to 471 paise.

For the agricultural sector, the old rate of 57 paise per unit has been revised to 58 paise. However, for unmetered supply in this sector, the old rate of Rs 60 per horse power per month has been retained.

The power rates for the industry’s small supply group have been increased from 293 paise to 315 paise, for the medium supply group from 332 paise to 357 paise and for the large supply group, general industry, arc furnace etc the rate has been hiked from 345 paise to 366 paise. The rates for temporary supply and certain other categories have also been hiked. The average increase for industry is 6 per cent while it is 11 per cent for other sectors.

A copy of the revised tariff order was handed over to the PSEB authorities this morning by the Chairman of the PSERC, Mr R.S. Mann. The average cost per unit has gone up to Rs 3.27 from Rs 3.14. There will be a cross subsidy of Rs 672 crore from large-scale, medium-scale and certain other catagories of consumers for supply to the agricultural sector, and the poor sections of society.

The government will provide a subsidy of Rs 807 crore to the board for subsidised power to the agricultural sector and of Rs 50 crore for providing power free of cost to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes having the maximum load of 300 watts. However, the cash component of this subsidy will be Rs 150 crore while the remaining amount is only to be a transfer entry in books.

While the tariff has been revised upwards, the commission has reduced the monthly minimum charges (MMC) by 10 to 15 per cent for all categories of consumers. The high consumption surcharge of 10 per cent has been abolished.

The PSEB had submitted two applications to the commission seeking a hike of 48 per cent to generate Rs 3263 crore to meet its revenue gap. Of these, one application was filed as a review petition for the past financial year, taking the plea that the tariff order passed by the commission last year had not calculated the revenue gap of the board correctly. Hence, the board should be allowed to generate more revenue by way of tariff revision.

However, Mr Mann said after examining the relevant data and making all calculations, the commission had determined a revenue gap of Rs 487.10 crore after considering both applications.

Out of this amount, the commission had decided to convert Rs 150 crore into a regulatory asset of the board. The board would be allowed to recover Rs 150 crore from power consumers in the subsequent years. The remaining amount of Rs 337.10 crore plus Rs 14.07 crore — the interest chargeable on Rs 150 crore in the subsequent years, would be charged from consumers during the current financial year.

The commission would impose a penalty on the board for not reducing the transmission and distribution losses to 25.50 per cent. Mr Mann said though the board had done well by reducing such losses to 25.61 per cent from 27.50 per cent it ought to be penalised for not meeting the target. The board had also been asked to bring down its wage bill to Rs 1250 crore from about Rs 1350 crore.

Meanwhile, the power tariff for the Golden Temple beyond the consumption of 2,000 units per month has been increased from 249 paise to 281 paise. The same rate will be applicable to the Durgiana Temple there. However, earlier the tariff was charged on the domestic pattern from the Durgiana Temple. The facility of free power up to 2,000 units has now been extended to the Durgania Temple also.

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