The Himachal Pradesh state electricity board limited (HPSEBL) spokesperson on Saturday clarified the inflated electricity bills were due to changed subsidy pattern.
In a press statement issued here, he said there were some complaints that inflated bills were due to replacement of electronic meters with the existing electro mechanical meters and accuracy of new meters, while it was due to tariff order for 2013-14.
He said due to the tariff order which was effective from April 1, 2013, there has been changes in the subsidy pattern causing more energy bills, particularly when the monthly consumption goes beyond 250 units.
During the winter months, the consumption was higher due to power requirement giving an additional impact in the energy bills in the month of December 2013 and January 2014.
As per approved tariff order of State Electricity Commission, there was an increase of 18-21% in the energy charges for domestic categories as compared to previous year.
He added, "Additional impact of electricity duty is 3% on energy charges and municipal corporation tax is 10p per unit, which also gets added to the bills since HPSEBL is required to collect taxes on electricity consumption on behalf of the state government and MC Shimla respectively."
Clarifying about the quality of electronic meter, he said these meters had been tested from standardisation testing and quality certification directorate (STQC) of government of India, Kolkata, and national accreditation board for testing and calibration laboratories (NABL)-Precision Calibration and Testing Centre, New Delhi.
He said, "The replacement of existing electro mechanical meters with electronic meters has been made as one of the components to electricity reform programme initiated by union government in the shape of restructured accelerated power development and reform programme (R- APDRP)."
He said 14 towns of the state were included under R-APDRP Scheme. The total project has been sanctioned for Rs 338 crore wherein centre shall fund about ` 305 crore as per 90:10 ratio.
The towns included in this scheme were Baddi, Bilaspur, Chamba, Dharamshala, Hamirpur, Kullu, Mandi, Sundernagar, Una, Yol Nahan, Paonta, Shimla and Solan.
"So far about 31,000 electronic meters have been replaced against the total envisaged number of around 45,500, whereas total consumers in Shimla Town project area is 77,000," said he , adding that nearly 31,500 were already electronic meters.
Shimla BJP had protested against the inflated bills at Mall road on Friday. BJP workers led by Shimla MLA Suresh Bhardwaj accused government for installation of defected meters causing inflated bills.