The state government has sent hints to all three government-run power distribution companies (discom) to propose minimum electricity tariff for 2017-2018 as it doesn’t want to annoy voters with “unexplainable hike” in election year.
With a year and half left for 2018 assembly elections to go, the BJP, which is in power in MP for more than a decade, plans to make surplus power availability an important poll issue as electricity and tariff have a direct connect with people.
“The state government doesn’t want to raise electricity tariff to an extent that it may pinch voters’ pockets and thus annoy them,” a west discom official said, wishing anonymity.
Keeping this in view, MP West Zone Electricity Distribution Co Ltd (west discom) which supplies power to Indore and Ujjain division has been deliberating for over a week about the hike it should propose to MPERC for the next fiscal.
“We have not been able to arrive at a decision so far,” a west discom official said.
Sources said that west discom may propose a hike of 5-10% of existing rates (Rs 2.50 per unit to Rs 6.50 per unit in different categories) while MPERC may accept on 3-4% only.
This is a sharp decrease given the fact that west discom had been proposing hikes of around 20% in non-election years.
Power discoms likely to submit tariff proposal on Friday
The state’s three power discoms are expected submit their annual revenue requirement and tariff proposal petition for 2017-18 before the MP Electricity Regulatory Commission (MPERC) on Friday. MPERC will fix tariff for next financial year after holding public hearings at divisional headquarters across the state in January-February 2017.
On December 7, power consumption in the state touched 10,846 megawatt -- 2,732 MW in areas under east discom, 3,373 MW in central discom and 4,741 MW in west discom.
State-owned MP Power Management Company Limited (MPPMCL), meanwhile, is all set to regain the few bulk power consumers, including the railways, who recently opted for open access to purchase electricity.
The open access is a mechanism in electricity norms where the bulk power consumer can purchase power from the open market where one might get cheaper power instead of depending on a particular electric utility.
MPPMCL managing director Sanjay Kumar Shukla told HT: “We are in process to bring back the bulk consumers who recently started purchasing power from the open market. By doing so, we want to overcome the revenue loss.”
Few bulk power consumers, including the railways, recently stopped purchasing electricity from the state owned power firm. Due to which the state incurred a loss of Rs 500 crore, he said.