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Accolades for Bihar at Delhi power ministers’ meeting

Bihar commended for showing the way to financially distressed power utilities in India.

patna Updated: May 04, 2017 18:25 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
power,discom,power tariff
Bihar energy secretary Pratyaya Amrit addressing the power ministers' conference in New Delhi on Thursday. (HT photo)

Bihar came in for praise at the power ministers’ conference in New Delhi on Thursday, when the Centre urged other states to undertake similar reforms in power tariff as those undertaken by the discoms (distribution companies) in Bihar.

Coming for fulsome praise for filing its tariff petition to the regulatory commission on zero subsidy basis, Union minister for power, coal, new and renewable energy, Piyush Goyal, said the reforms being undertaken by utilities in Bihar was the way ahead for financially distressed power utilities in India.

In keeping with the guidelines of the Union ministry of power (MoP), Bihar has undertaken tariff reforms for rationalisation and simplification of prevalent tariff structure and to reduce the number of consumer sub-categories from 146 to 40 from this financial year (2017-18).

Principal secretary, energy (Bihar), Pratyaya Amrit, explained at the two-day conference that discoms in the state, for the first time, had filed its tariff petition to the Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) on zero subsidy basis. This resulted in issuance of tariff based on the true cost of supply.

Bihar power minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav (left) at power ministers' conference in New Delhi. ( HT file photo )

Previously, the government subsidy used to be paid to discoms without segregating the subsidy to consumers and that to discoms for meeting the aggregate transmission and commercial (AT&C) loss. After receipt of subsidy, discoms used to utilise the same as resource gap. From now, it had been decided to transfer the subsidy directly to targeted consumer categories, which would reflect in energy bills of consumers.

A communique, issued by the energy department, said: “The tariff restructuring allowed key stakeholders to have a better understanding of the tariff, cost of supply and subsidy, which was the prime objective of implementing tariff reforms. The restructured tariff will make the consumers aware of the cost of supply of electricity being consumed, enable transparent monitoring of discoms’ performance (reduction in T&D loss) and allow the government for effective planning of subsidy.”

The release further said the added accomplishments of tariff reforms in Bihar was a substantial hike of 21% in tariff for 2017-18, after government subsidy to consumers, as compared to 2.4% hike in power tariff, allowed by the regulator regulatory commission during the last three years.

The other major achievement was to align the distribution loss trajectory with the loss trajectory as agreed in the memorandum of understanding of the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY)-- the Centre’s financial turnaround and revival package for electricity distribution companies.

Provision of prepaid meters for all consumers, additional 1% rebate for online payment, rebate of 1.5% for timely payment of bills were also key takeaways of the new tariff.

Bihar energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav represented the state at the two-day power ministers’ conference in New Delhi that concluded on Thursday. Managing director of the two state discoms R Lakshmanan and Sandeep Kumar Pudakalkatti also attended the meet.

It was also decided that Bihar would host the next power ministers’ conference in Bihar.

First Published: May 04, 2017 18:02 IST