The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) has approved an average hike of 17.8% in power tariff for all categories of consumers with effect from April 1.
The new structure means that a domestic user in the highest consumption bracket will pay Rs 5 per unit, from Rs 4.4 previously. For the lowest consumption bracket in the domestic category, the per unit cost has been increased to Rs 2.55 per unit (see box).
The tariff has been fixed for three years and the government has the right to increase it by filing a petition.
The last tariff revision was done in 2012 that had led to a gap between revenue and expenditure.
The UT electricity department had proposed a hike of up to 40 per cent — in different slabs .The department’s previous representation for increase in tariff was turned down due to its failure to get a commercial audit done.
The fixed charges for a domestic connection has been hiked by around 40% to Rs 10 per KW/month.
Under the commercial category, which is a non-residential area, the fixed charge has been increased to Rs 20/KW/month for single phase and for three phase, the rate has been hiked to Rs 100/KW/month. The tariff for agriculture has been increased to Rs 2.9 per unit from Rs 2.3 per unit.
The peak demand of the UT electricity department is around 350MW, which is being met from different central/state generating stations. UT has no generating capacity and receives 67% of its power through SAS Nagar (PSEB), about 10% through Dhulkote (BBMB) and remaining 23% through Nalagarh.
On the demand for giving meter reading cards to all consumers, the commission has said the idea had been noted for future action and demanded a plan to be chalked out.
Cross-section of views
RTI activist R K Garg said, “The electricity department is running into losses and increased rates will put burden on common man. The department should be transparent.”
“The hike will burden the industrialists. The policy has many loopholes. They will charge separately on units and the load, which will inflate consumers’ bills. Consumers should be charged as per the units consumed,” said Arun Mahajan, member, industrial advisory committee
“The rates should not be increased; it is an unnecessary move. The need is to check power thefts,” said Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman, FOSWAC.