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Gas price hike will leave you with heftier power bill

business Updated: May 21, 2010 01:12 IST
Anupama Airy
Anupama Airy
Hindustan Times
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After autos and piped cooking gas, prepare to shell out an extra Rs 120-150 per month on your electricity bill.

Power tariffs in Delhi are set to increase following the government’s decision on Wednesday to more than double the price of natural gas, used as a fuel to produce electricity. The exact quantum of hike in consumer tariffs will be decided by the state power regulators.

“The cost of power generation would go up by Rs 1.00-1.20 per unit,” Union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said.

The government’s decision to more than double the price of natural gas will make several services costlier:

* Public transport

* Piped cooking gas

* Electricity bills will go up by Rs 120-150 per month

“Consumer prices are sure to go up, but the exact quantum would be worked out.”

As much as 20 per cent (800 megawatt) of Delhi’s power requirement of 4,000 MW is served by gas-based power plants. “The cost of gas-based power purchased by Delhi would go up,” Delhi power secretary Rajinder Kumar told HT. “But I cannot comment on the quantum of increase for consumers.”

Delhi’s power generators — the 282 MW gas turbine power station and 330 MW Pragati power station — are gas-based. So is the upcoming 1,500 MW Pragati-III in Bawana — Delhi’s largest plant, which will start generating after the Commonwealth Games.

Based on this, the price of electricity in Delhi could go up by 20-25 paise per unit, a senior official said. For an average household consuming 600 units per month, the increase in the bill will work out to Rs 120-150.

The Delhi govenrment has already stated its intent to move all existing coal-based power plants in the city to cleaner gas-based plants in the next five years. As a result, going forward, the number of consumers affected by this price rise will increase.

Power producers are paid on the basis of fixed cost and variable cost and increase in the price of natural gas would accordingly have to be taken into account by the central or state regulatory authorities.

While states purchasing more of gas-based power will get affected, the impact will not be significant for the country as a whole as presently, gas-based power plants account for only about 10 per cent of India's total generation capacity of 1,55,000 MW.

The Cabinet on Wednesday hiked the price of gas sold to power, fertiliser and city gas projects from Rs 3,200 per thousand cubic metres ($1.79 per million British thermal unit) to Rs 6,818 ($3.818).