A day after Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company proposed an average 24% tariff hike for all categories of power consumers in the next financial year, people from all sections of society seemed worried about the impending hike in electricity rate.
Not just the common man, businessmen and industrialists too seemed to be fretting over the proposal. Bhopal-based industrialist Aayush Goswami said the tariff hike proposed is too much. "This is not viable. Profits are already shrinking and this would hurt the industries," said Goswami.
Kishori Sirothia, a housewife, who lives in Sagar, said increase in power tariff would be a shock. "In Sagar, we are already facing numerous issues as the power supply and distribution is in the hands of private company. If the power rates go up, it will affect middle-class families' budget badly," she said.
Businessman Uday Jain, who runs a plastic factory, said that if tariff goes up, it will increase input costs and as market has been in recession for quite long, it is a worrying factor.
Read:MP power firm calls for significant hike in power tariff
Senior citizens are also equally disturbed. Retired colonel RJ Noah, who lives in Jabalpur, says power discoms should focus on checking power pilferage so that their losses are brought down, rather than implementing a steep rise in power tariff.
Activist Dr PG Najpandey, who is associated with Nagric Upbhokta Margdarshak Manch, says there was no need for power discoms to give concession to such consumers who defaulted in payment of bills. "This puts additional burden on the pocket of genuine consumers," he further said.
The general secretary of Mahakoshal Udyog Sangh, DR Jaiswani, who lives in Jabalpur, said that the discoms are opting for power tariff hike as there was no election in near future and they wanted to recover losses of the past when Assembly and Lok Sabha elections had taken place. Jaiswani said that discoms should minimise their own expenses and should control power theft.
Pithampur Industry Association president Gautam Kothari, said that the proposals are yet to be admitted by the MP Electricity Regulatory Commission. "The power management company seemed to have juggled the figures by inflating the figures of low-tariff consumers and reducing that of high-tariff consumers. The figures of government grants also need to be verified".
"On one hand, the distributors are getting power at low rates from Reliance Power's Sasan and other power projects even as they are asking for a tariff hike. The power distributors should also focus on bringing down the transmission and distribution losses. Once the proposal is admitted by the regulator, it will be published and a hearing will be held. We will be raising our objections at the time of hearing," Kothari further said.