The year after year hike in the electricity tariff has put the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) in trouble, as the associations of various manufacturing units has termed the regulator as biased and as a puppet of the government.
While the PSERC on Monday has started the process of hearing objections from various stakeholders, the Fastener Manufacturers Association of India has boycotted the proceedings.
The Federation of Association of Small Industries of India (FASSI) had already criticised the power regulator for not considering the viewpoint of the trade associations during the hearing to decide tariff.
"The commission is not doing its duty honestly. In all decisions, objections and petitions, the commission is pro-PSPCL. All processes of annual revenue requirement (ARR) petition i.e. submission, filing objections and public hearing is just a formality", said Narinder Bhamra, president, Fastener Manufacturers Association of India, who announced to boycott the proceedings.
The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has submitted annual revenue requirement (ARR) petition for 2014-15 before the PSERC, which has to hear the objections before deciding the tariff.
"For the last so many years our association has filed objections. We have also approached the PSERC on so many issues like wheeling charges, cross subsidy, excess fuel surcharge and electricity losses. But nothing has been done in this regard. These charges are double in Punjab as compared to neighbouring states. Even power rates of Punjab are the highest in the region. Every year rates of power are increased arbitrarily, he charged.
"The commission has not worked properly and honestly. Every year rates have been announced late and charged retrospectively which is a huge burden on the industry", he alleged.
Bhamra said that the FMAI demanded that the government should appoint a retired justice as PSERC chairman so that commission work properly.
Moreover, the deputy chief minister should now keep his promise to the industry that government would decrease the power tariff once their new thermal plants start operating.
The PSPCL is selling power outside state at `4.50 per unit whereas it is charging `7.20 per unit from the trade and industry of Punjab, he said demanding a rollback in prices.
FASSI president Badish K Jindal said:" It is very unfortunate that instead of giving relief to the industry of Punjab such as reduction in electricity charges, waiving of peak load hours in view of power surplus status, the PSPCL in connivance with the PSERC is proposing to increase the power tariff which is uncalled for."
The power regulator is working as puppet of the PSPCL .The association demands that power tariff should be decided in a transparent manner by appointing a retired high court judge and not a bureaucrat.