Eye on polls, Punjab cuts power tariff up to 20% for marginal consumers
Patiala Months ahead of the assembly elections in Punjab, the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) on Friday reduced the power tariff for domestic consumers with monthly consumption of less than 300 units by up to 20%. According to the PSERC order, the per unit tariff for domestic consumers with load up to 2kW and consumption slabs of 0 to 100 units and 101 to 300 units has been reduced by ₹1 and 50 paise, respectively. For domestic consumers having a load between 2kW and 7kW and for consumption slabs of 0 to 100 units and 101 to 300 units, the rates have been reduced by 75 paise and 50 paise, respectively.
Initially, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) had demanded a 9% tariff hike only to revise the petition, seeking a slash in the rate reportedly at government’s insistence.
“This shall result in financial relief to the tune of ₹682 crore to these consumers. The new slabs will come into force from June 1,” reads the order issued by PSERC chairman Viswajeet Khanna.
To provide respite to domestic consumers, the PSERC has passed on the burden on other segments of consumers. The non-domestic consumers will pay almost 24% of the subsidy.
The tariff for above 7kW of load has been increased by almost 5%, which also includes a hike in fixed charges. Now, the average per unit power cost in Punjab is ₹6.41, the pooled purchase cost is ₹4.54.
“The decision will bring relief to 69-lakh domestic consumers in the state,” chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh said in a press release.
“Once again the political face of the PSERC is out. The commission has given relief to the lower sections and put the burden on other sections including residential and industry,” said Badish Jindal, president of Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations.
No change for small, medium industries
Small and medium industrial consumers and non-residential supply (NRS) consumers have not been burdened with any increase.
The tariff for agricultural power (AP) consumers has been increased marginally by 9 paise. With this, the agriculture cross-subsidy has been reduced from (-) 14.41% to (-) 12.05%. The commission has worked out a power subsidy of ₹10,668 crore for the current fiscal. There is a shortfall of ₹7,117.8 crore of subsidy amount paid by the Punjab government by March 31, 2021.