Though the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has allowed only 12.08% hike in electricity tariff against the demand for a 53% hike made by the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL), the PSPCL authorities are satisfied with the hike.
PSPCL chairman-cum-managing director KD Chaudhri said that despite this hike, the power rates in Punjab were still one of the lowest in the country.
He emphasised the need to effect hikes in power tariff at regular intervals in view of the rising costs of generating, transmitting and distributing electricity. He said that even with nominal hikes in electricity tariff, the PSPCL would be able to meet its expenditure and objectives of supplying power regularly and providing better services to consumers.
Observing that the PSERC had allowed a nominal tariff hike as compared to the steep hike announced by many other states, Chaudhri said, "The power tariff for the industrial and commercial categories in Haryana, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka is much higher as compared to Punjab. Industrialists have no reason to complain."
He said the tariff hike of 12.08% in Punjab was much lower as compared to the hike announced by other states, including Tamil Nadu (37%), Rajasthan (27%), Delhi (26%), Andhra Pradesh (20.24%) and Haryana (17%).
Chaudhri said Punjab had purchased electricity worth Rs 6,658 crore to ensure sufficient power supply to the agriculture sector during the paddy-sowing season as well as to domestic, commercial and industrial consumers with the minimum possible cuts this summer.
"Unlike other states, consumers in Punjab pay only for the electricity they consume. Out of 53 lakh domestic consumers, 10 lakh consumers of the BPL and SC categories are getting 200 units of free power every month," he said.
Chaudhri claimed that Punjab would become a power-surplus state by 2013-14 with the completion of three thermal plants at Goindwal Sahib, Talwandi Sabo and Rajpura, which would have a combined generation capacity of 3,920 MW.