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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Power regulatory panel scuttles PSPCL’s ‘exaggerated’ claims

Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, August 25, 2014
First Published: 07:49 IST(25/8/2014) | Last Updated: 07:52 IST(25/8/2014)

Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has corrected the “exaggerated” claims of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) in the tariff order announced for the year 2014-15. This cuts the annual revenue gap from Rs. 3,453 crore to Rs. 593 crore.

Barely three days after the Punjab government sold the success story of bringing down transmission and distribution (T&D) losses to 16.5% to union minister of state for power Piyush Goel, the PSPCL is left red-faced after the PSERC in its tariff order found out that the actual figure in the 2013-14 fiscal was 18.85%.

The actual T&D losses are 19.13%, 19.1%, 18.86% and 18.85% for the years 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14, respectively, against the reported 17.98%, 17.25%, 16.79% and 16.78%, respectively.

Ending the 2013-14 fiscal, the actual T&D losses are 2.35% higher than what the PSPCL claimed on August 19 in the meeting with the union minster of state for power in Chandigarh. The Punjab delegation led by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had told the central ministry team that the PSPCL, from heavy losses over many years, has made a turnaround and started registering profits.

It claimed that it had separated the tube-well feeders from rest of the consumer supply network. The PSERC also pointed out that on August 22, the PSPCL has shown 10,152 million units, 10,256 MU, 11,034 MU, and 11,586 MU as consumed by the agriculture sector in the 2010-11, 2011-12, 2013-14, and 2014-15 fiscals, respectively, whereas it supplied 9,656 MU, 9,455 MU, 9,726 MU, and 9,749 MU actually, respectively. The PSERC correction reduces the subsidy bill of the Punjab government by more than Rs. 1,838 crore.

Presenting the tariff order on Friday last week, PSERC chairperson Romila Dubey categorically said the PSPCL had the tendency of exaggerating and inflating figures, which the commission would not allow.

Rejecting the recommendations of transfer scheme which provided for imposing Rs. 914 crore as annual charge to be passed on to the consumers for next 15 years (to create a trust for paying pension and gratuity), the commission instead asked the PSPCL to adopt the principal of “pay as you go”.

It has also imposed a fine of more than Rs. 107.27 crore on the PSPCL for not implementing the directives such as the one on shifting of power meters outside homes.

Had these deductions not  been made, the revenue gap would have increased from Rs. 593.63 crore to Rs. 3,453.15 crore, resulting in more than 16% hike in tariff.

The state government pays the agricultural and other power subsidies from public money.

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