PSPCL to seek above 10% hike in power tariff

  • Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times, Patiala
  • Updated: Dec 09, 2014 16:36 IST

Working out a net gap of Rs 11,318 crore between income and expenditure, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has approached the Power Regulator for a tariff hike for the year 2015-16.

Though the PSPCL, in its Annual Revenue Requirement (ARR) petition, has projected a gap in a five-digit figure, the Power Regulator, as per practice, will allow the increase on the Net Revenue Requirement gap between the current and the next fiscal that works out to Rs 3,400 crore. So, the PSPCL has practically sought an 8% to 15% hike, as the Power Regulator reduces the projected amount and calculates the power tariff on the basis of the data of last three fiscals.

The PSPCL has worked out its Net Revenue Requirement for 2014-15 as Rs 24,284 crore while it has projected it as `27,683 crore for the next fiscal.

An alarming fact that has come to the fore from the tariff petition is that the PSPCL is further slipping into debt. The total debt till October 2014 amounted to Rs 21,614 crore that would reach Rs 22,475 crore by the end of this fiscal.

Ironically, the electricity board was split to bail it out of debt, but the government never provided a clean balance sheet to the PSPCL. Instead, the state government is taking Rs 952 crore annually as return of equity, and that too from a corporation that is under debt. The PSPCL has projected that it has to pay Rs 2,593 crore as interest on outstanding loans for the next fiscal, while this amount is Rs 2,472 crore for the current fiscal.

In the breakup in the ARR petition, the PSPCL has projected the employee cost by almost 20% and summed it up at Rs 5,423 crore, while it has projected that it has to purchase power worth Rs 11,488 crore against a power purchase of 2014-15 which is summed up at Rs 10,379 crore.

The new power subsidy bill for free power to the agricultural sector and weaker section of society is pegged at Rs 6,130 crore for the next fiscal.

With the PSPCL filing the petition, the power regulator will set the ball rolling for deciding the hike by calling comments and holding meetings with various stakeholders, including consumers, various industrial associations, trade association, employees and others.

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