Electricity will now be dearer in Madhya Pradesh with tariffs being hiked by up to 10%, merely weeks before the summer days arrive and spur the use of high-power appliances such as air-conditioners and coolers.
The Madhya Pradesh Electricity Regulator Commission (MPERC) announced a 10% hike for those consumption falling under the 100-300 and 300 and above slabs. For those who consume between 50-100 units of electricity, the hike is of 5%.
The move comes in the face of appeals from sections of the society and political circles, but the government justified it by saying that less than a fifth of the consumers would be affected.
The claim is questionable since government’s own figures say that almost half of the electricity users consume over 50 units. The state government also said the hiked tariffs were lower than what was needed given that firms were running up major losses. It said that while power tariff for electricity pumps in farming sector was hiked by 13%, the flat rate hasn't been changed and the government will keep giving subsidy.
For the last couple of years, there was no hike. In 2013-14, the hike was almost nil (0.77% for those consuming more than 500 units).
A member of the Nagrik Upbhokta Margdarshak Manch (NUMM), PG Najpandey, said the increase in coal price to `3,296 per metric ton in 2014-15 is taken as ground to hike power tariff which is unconvincing. The State purchases 70% coal of G9 and G12 grades, which cost much less than the G5 grade coal which is 30% of total consumption, he said.
Industrialists too slammed the hike.
"This is a big jolt for industrialists. Apparently, they show that there is 10% tariff increase for industrial consumer but they also increased 15% tax and the actual increase comes to around 22%", said KM Mathur, who spoke to Hindustan Times, on behalf of a private firm. "It will be a huge burden on the people of the State", said KK Mishra, chief spokesperson of the Madhya Pradesh Congress.