Electricity consumers in Haryana will have to shell out more from April 1. The Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) on Sunday effected a 13% average hike in power tariff in the state. As expected, the farm sector, a key vote bank, has been spared yet again from a tariff increase.
HERC chairman RN Prasher said it was an across-the-board hike of about 70 paise per unit. "However, this includes arrears amounting to 53 paise per unit, which had piled up before March 2012 and were not factored in previously by the commission. So, the actual hike for 2013-14 is 17 paise per unit," he said.
On being asked why the commission did not factor in the arrears of Rs 4,800 crore earlier, Prasher said probably they were being populist. "We have incorporated about 40% of those Rs 4,800 crore in the tariff revision effected on Sunday," said the regulator. Whatever be the clarifications from the HERC, the fact remains that the consumer will end up paying 70 paise more.
As per the distribution and retail supply tariff order for the 2013-14 financial year issued by the commission, electricity for domestic supply will be determined under a telescopic tariff structure which has been re-categorised into three groups by the HERC.
New categories for high-end consumers
For consuming 40 units of electricity per month, a consumer will now have to pay 28 paise more (Rs 2.98 per unit as against the existing Rs 2.70 per unit). A new category 41 to 100 units per month has been introduced with a tariff of Rs 4.75 per unit as against the existing Rs 4.50 per unit for 41-250 units' consumption.
For consumption of up to 250 units per month, the tariff has been fixed at Rs 4.90 per unit as against the existing Rs 4.50 per unit for 41-250 units' consumption slab. Similarly, for consumption of 250-501 units per month, the consumer will have to pay a tariff of Rs 5.60 per unit. For those consuming 501-800 units and above, the tariff will be Rs 5.98 per unit.
Domestic consumer hit hard
The commission has also hit the domestic consumer hard by effecting a 25% hike in the minimum monthly consumption charges (MMC) from the existing Rs 80 (up to 2 kilowatt) to Rs 100 (up to 2 kilowatt). The HERC chairman justified the creation of a fresh telescopic tariff structure by saying: "We have denied the benefit of subsidised power to the high-end consumers by dividing them in categories."
The commission reiterated that mostly due to past uncovered revenue gap, they had increased the tariff on an average by about 13% in the non-agriculture pump (AP) consumer category.
Rural electrification bill further soars
With the AP subsidy of Rs 4,853 crore and minimum monthly consumption charges revenue of Rs 52.99 crore, the total revenue gain to the two distribution companies in 2013-14 is estimated as Rs 19,197 crore against the revenue requirement of Rs 19,197 crore, the HERC order said.
Justifying the tariff hike for the domestic consumer, the commission said the domestic supply tariff for 2013-14 in Haryana, except for the high-end consumers, shall be lower than 2012-13 tariffs of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. After revision of tariffs for 2013-14, most of the neighbouring states were likely to have tariffs higher than that approved for Haryana. Similarly, the non-domestic tariff approved for Haryana in 2013-14 is lower than that of 2012-13 tariffs of Rajasthan and Delhi.
Steep hike for public water supply, streetlighting
The commission has also effected a steep hike of Rs 1.05 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for electricity consumed for streetlighting and 90 paise increase per kWh for public water works. Though it is unlikely that the financial implications arising out of these increase will be passed onto the consumer, it will mean pumping in of more subsidy by the state government for water supply and further burdening urban local bodies who will have to pay more for streetlighting.