No change in power tariff, marginal hike in pension surcharge
Power bills of all consumers will see a marginal hike of 1.2 percentage points from September 1 as the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) on Friday announced the new tariff order for 2020-21, keeping the per unit and fixed rates constant but slightly increasing a surcharge.
The DERC kept all rates such as per unit energy cost and fixed charges on the sanctioned load of every household same as before. But power bills will still see a minor increase as the regulator raised the ‘pension trust surcharge’ from 3.8% to 5%.
Chief minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal tweeted soon after the regulator announced the power tariff changes, saying this is the sixth consecutive year that people had been spared of a tariff hike.
“Congratulations to the people of Delhi. At a time when power tariffs are increasing year on year everywhere, tariffs in Delhi have not been increased for the sixth consecutive year. In some sectors, we have reduced tariffs. This is historic. This is happening because you elected an honest government in Delhi,” Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.
The chief minister, however, did not account for the increase in fixed charges that happened in 2018. After facing criticism for hiking the fixed charges back then, the Delhi government revised its subsidy structure last year, wherein electricity is now completely free for residents who consume up 200 units of power every month.
Those who consume up to 400 units, get a discount of up to Rs 800 every month.
Explaining the bit about “reduced tariffs” in Kejriwal’s tweet, DERC chairperson Justice (retired) SS Chauhan said the commission waived off the surcharge of 20% on the ‘time of day’ (ToD) tariff levied primarily on industrial and commercial connections. This waiver will be applicable only for a month though, he said.
Under the TOD scheme, non-domestic consumers, mostly factories, shops, industries, etc., who consume electricity during peak hours -- 2pm-5pm and 10pm-1am -- had to pay a 20% surcharge. This has been waived off for a month starting September 1. The rebate of 20% on consuming more electricity during the off peak hour of 4am-10am will continue.
Apart from the goods and services taxes, two surcharges are levied on every electricity bill in Delhi. These are the pension surcharge, which goes towards paying pension to former employees of power utilities before the sector was decentralised, and the regulatory asset surcharge, which goes to discoms to make up for their revenue deficits. Under the new order, the regulatory asset surcharge will remain unchanged at 8%.
The DERC chief said the increase in the pension surcharge was done on a proposal sent by the Delhi government. “Due to outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, no tariff hike has been considered by the commission for the financial year 2020-21. Only the pension surcharge has been marginally increased because the number of pensioners under the erstwhile Delhi Vidyut Board increased.
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