Domestic consumers in cities of Uttar Pradesh will be shelling out electricity charges more than their counterparts anywhere in the country, except a part of Mumbai, if the state’s electricity regulator allows the full tariff hike as sought by the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) for the year 2009-10.
In fact, the proposed tariff for urban domestic consumers — Rs 5 per unit - if accepted, will be higher than what even industries are paying in any other state except Delhi, Goa, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Bihar and almost as much as what industrial consumers are paying within UP itself, at present.
This is what an analysis of a Chart on the ‘state/utility-wise average rate of electricity for domestic and industrial consumers’ given in the latest Economic Survey of India, shows.
The average urban domestic tariff in UP shown in the survey, is at present Rs 3.84 per unit which, as sources indicted, also include the fixed charges which a consumer pay at the rate of Rs 60 per kw of his power connection.
A look at the statistical chart comprising the Economic Survey shows that even at the present tariff, electricity in UP for urban domestic consumers costs more than their counterparts in more than half of the total 43 states/utilities. Chief among them include Delhi, Uttarakhand, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, and a part of Mumbai.
But at the same time there are at least half a dozen important states/utilities like the Punjab, MP, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karataka, Maharashtra and a part of West Bengal where electricity at the end of urban domestic consumers is higher than in UP.
However, UP will leave all the 43 states/utilities behind in electricity rates once the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) gives its nod to the UPPCL’s proposal seeking more than 50 per cent tariff hike for the 2009-10. The only place where power tariff will be higher vis-à-vis UP is a part of Mumbai served by the BEST.
To be fair to the UPPCL, it is in a dire financial crisis and authorities feel the department will not survive unless it was allowed the tariff hike or the government doles out a substantial bail out package. But what many protest is the fact, that the UPPCL has sought to burden only the domestic consumers that too in a big way
"They are going to burden paying consumers in a bid meet the financial crunch but doing nothing to improve their own efficiency,” regretted UP Rajya Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad president, Awadhesh Kumar Verma.
Secretary (Energy) and UPPCL Chairman and Managing Director, Navneet Sehgal, however, pleads electricity rates in UP are one of the lowest in the country.
“The average power tariff in UP is only Rs 1.90 per unit,” he pointed out.
May be he is right. But what he calls the average tariff, according to sources, is in totality (not urban domestic alone) and it includes rural domestic tariff too. And this is precisely the problem.
The rural domestic consumers unlike their urban counterparts get one of the cheapest electricity in the state. For example, the Economic Survey puts the average rural domestic power tariff in UP at Rs 1.24 per unit against Rs 3.74 in Gujarat, Rs 4.30 in MP, Rs 364 in Rajasthan and Rs 4.06 in West Bengal.
“This is why each unit of electricity that is supplied to unmetered rural consumers in UP brings loss of Rs 2 to the utility,” pointed out sources.
This time the UPPCL has sought only a marginal increase from Rs 110 per connection per month to Rs 125 per connection per month in respect of unmetered domestic rural consumers who pay at a fixed rate irrespective of amount of energy consumed by them.