Top officers of six municipal corporations - Mohali, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Bathinda and Patiala are meeting in Amritsar on Monday to debate upon how much the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has 'overcharged' them in recent times.
The civic bodies, during deliberations before Monday's meeting, concluded that every year, each municipal corporation was paying around Rs 3 crore more than the actual cost of power.
"The list of issues to be taken up with the PSPCL is really long. Most importantly, the tariff for public lighting (street lights) has not been reviewed for a long time. We are being levied tariff as applicable on commercial installations," said Patiala mayor Amarinder Singh Bajaj, who took up the matter for rationalisation of power tariff.
The civic bodies would jointly present their case before the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) for tariff rationalization because the process to ascertain tariff for the upcoming financial year (2014-15) has already started.
The meeting has been convened by Maj Gen Vinod Kumar Bhatt (retd), adviser to the Punjab chief minister on technical issues and development of infrastructure in the 145 townships and cities of the state. Maj Gen Bhatt told HT that the finances of civic bodies were to be conserved. The rationalisation of power tariff is the first step. "We hope to save a lot," he pointed out, adding that the power tariff of civic bodies had not been revised for the past five-six years.
He said civic bodies should also get the benefit of conservation of power due to the shift from using tubelights to sodium vapour lamps and LEDs (light-emitting diodes) for public lighting.
PSPCL chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) KD Chaudhari said it was the PSERC's role to streamline the system of imposition of tariff on civic bodies. Denying that the charges imposed were on a par with that of the commercial installations, he asked civic bodies to approach the PSERC.
Bajaj added that the PSPCL was levying commercial tariff and also imposing heavy rent on streetlight poles, which is not reasonable as these poles erected by the civic bodies, on civic body land.
"We are paying Rs 8 lakh as monthly rent for 1.25 lakh poles. Bigger municipal corporations such as Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar have more number of poles as they pay much higher rent," he added, demanding that the provision of rent be withdrawn immediately.
The civic bodies would also discuss options for automatic switch on-off of streetlights, dimming of streetlights after 10:30pm, and switching off alternative lights in a row.