Chandigarh, Apr 10: Power consumers in Punjab will now have to pay more with power regulator Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) today announcing average hike of 9.06 per cent in power tariff across all categories for 2013-14.
With an intention of reducing load and power cuts, Time of Day (ToD) tariff for large supply industrial category was also introduced for the first time in the state whereby a rebate of Re 1 per unit on normal tariff would be given to the industry for consuming power during off peak hours (10 pm till 6 am).
The power regulator also announced hike in peak load hour exemption charges by whopping 50 per cent, aimed at restricting power demand during peak load hours and preventing incidents like grid failure witnessed last year.
“An average increase of 9.06 per cent in power tariff has been made for 2013-14 which will take effect from April 1, 2013 till March 31, 2014,” PSERC, Chairperson, Romila Dubey told reporters here today.
Maximum hike in power tariff was made in the category of ‘industry' as the Commission raised tariff by up to 12.83 per cent for small, medium and large supply industries. Farm sector was largely spared from a big increase in tariff as electricity rates for Agricultural Pumpsets (AP) category was raised by just 1.67 per cent.
Asked about why meagre increase was made in power tariff for farm sector, Dubey said, “As power supply to agriculture sector is erratic. They (farmers) are not getting supply during day time. They get supply during odd hours. Therefore, there is a provision that we can have a differential tariff for this category.”
Punjab government bears the entire financial burden on account of free power supply to farmers, a major vote bank. Low hike in power tariff for agriculture sector means subsidy burden on the state exchequer would be less in current fiscal.
The subsidy for free supply to AP consumers worked out at Rs 4,778.13 crore for 2013-14. Besides, state government also pays power subsidy for supplying free power up to 200 units per month to SC domestic consumers and non-SC BPL domestic consumers. This burden works out at Rs 829.29 crore.
As per new order, tariff has been hiked for domestic category by 47 paise a unit to 456 paise a unit (for power consumption up to 100 units), 53 paise to 602 paise a unit (101 units to 300 units consumption), and by 63 paise to 644 paise a unit (above 300 units consumption). For AP category, tariff has been hiked from 418 paise a unit (kWh) to 425 paise a unit.
For large industrial consumers including arc furnace, the tariff has been raised from 561 paise a unit to 633 a unit, representing a jump of 72 paise a unit. For small and medium industries, the rate has been hiked by 64 paise and 65 paise a unit to 574 paise a unit and 626 paise a unit respectively.
Additional slab of up to 100 units was introduced in Non-residential supply category by the commission to take care of the interest of small shopkeepers.
For Railway traction, the tariff was increased by 55 paise a unit to 658 paise a unit.
Talking about ToD tariff being introduced for the first time, the regulator said this tariff would be applicable on about 6,000-7,000 large scale units in Punjab, aimed at flattening the load curve and reducing power cuts.
“ToD will be optional for the industry and it will be implanted from October to March period. Next time, we will try to introduce this tariff for medium supply industry category,” Dubey said.
She further said,”The peak load hour exemption charges has been hiked by 50 per cent and the last revision was made in the year 1998.” Currently, Peak load hour exemption charges vary between Rs 1.80 a unit to 2.70 a unit.
The combined average cost of supply for 2013-14 works out to 577.75 paise a unit, up from 538.66 paise a unit in 2013-13.
Against the Annual Revenue Requirement (ARR) of Rs 23,589.60 crore projected by power utility Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), the regulator determined it at Rs 21,592.45 crore.
The Commission has also determined the consolidated revenue gap of Rs 1,782.50 crore for 2013-14.
The cash-strapped power utility PSPCL had sought whopping 58.59 per cent hike in power tariff for 2013-14 to cover the cumulative revenue gap of Rs 12,053.39 crore for 2013-14.
However, the regulator did not give approval to the two-part tariff proposal made by PSPCL in view of the objections raised by various stakeholders.
PSPCL has been directed to conduct the mock run of proposed two-part system in five divisions for six months, said Dubey.