Even as the Delhi government has slashed the power tariff by 50% for small users (consuming up to 400 units per month), the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has given a jolt of Rs. 155 crore to consumers.
The PSPCL has levied the fuel cost adjustment (FCA) surcharge on consumers from January 1 to March 31. This is the second FCA surcharge levied during this financial year.
For the metered-category consumers, the surcharge amounts to Rs. 95.56 crore, while Rs. 59.60 crore will be borne by the unmetered-category consumers. The PSPCL has also taken up the matter with the Punjab government for the recovery of additional subsidy for free power on account of levy of the FCA surcharge.
"Now, the PSPCL will charge 12 paise per KWH (kilowatt hour) as fuel surcharge, which includes 9 paise per unit already levied since October. For tubewells, the FCA is Rs. 24.38 per kilowatt per month," said a PSPCL official.
The power regulator allows power companies to pass on the rising cost of fuel to consumers by adding to the FCA. However, power engineers contend that the fuel cost has increased as the PSPCL was being supplied poor quality coal by the miner. "Test reports of laboratories have shown that there is variation of test reports of coal samples at Bathinda, Lehra Mohabbat and Ropar thermal plants. The calorific value of the coal was found less than that claimed by the coal supplier, but the PSPCL management has failed to find out who is responsible for the poor quality of coal, while the consumers are suffering," he said.
Meanwhile, consumers in general and the industry as particular have criticised the move and said that the Punjab government must follow the Delhi pattern by reducing power bills.