The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has delayed the announcement of power tariff for the 2012-13 financial year. It is learnt that the tariff would be announced after the elections to four municipal corporations, scheduled for June 10.
Sources in the PSERC said the state government, unwilling to risk its poll prospects, was not giving its nod to the annual revenue requirement (ARR) petitions filed by the two power corporations - Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) and Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited (PSTCL).
In its ARR petition, the PSPCL has shown a revenue gap of Rs 8,000 crore, which means a hike of about 50% in the tariff. The PSPCL has left it to the PSERC to decide the quantum of hike.
Going by the central electricity norms, the tariff has to be announced within 120 days of filing of the ARR petition by the state power board. As per regulations fixed by the PSERC, the annual tariff requirement is to be filed by November 30 every year and the tariff announced by March 31.
"Both corporations (PSPCL and PSTCL) filed tariff petitions in time. The ball is now in the PSERC's court," said principal secretary, power, Anirudh Tiwari, putting the onus for the delay on the PSERC. He denied that the tariff decision had been put off till the end of the MC polls.
"The PSERC still has some work to do to ascertain the tariff. First, the government would give its nod to the ARR petitions filed by the two corporations, after which the PSERC would seek clearance on the issue of subsidy to be given to the PSPCL for free power to agriculture and other sections of consumers," said a PSPCL official.
In recent years, the PSERC had been announcing the tariff in September (from back date of April 1), which was challenged by the state's industry in the Punjab and Haryana high court, claiming that their businesses had become unviable as they were forced to pay for the previous months. The high court had ruled in favour of the industry.
Subsequent to the HC order, the PSERC started annualising the tariff by spreading the total annual hike in the remaining months of the financial year. "In this case, too, the consumers have to pay more as one year's tariff is to be paid during the rest of the months after the delayed pronouncement of the revised tariff," said a PSPCL official.