Domestic consumers demand treatment on a par with industry at PSERC meet | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Domestic consumers demand treatment on a par with industry at PSERC meet

Industry says PSPCL not following PSERC regulations, leading to litigation, the committee had met for filing objections to tariff review for 2018-19

punjab Updated: Jan 19, 2018 14:34 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
In its previous order on October 23, 2017, for current financial year (2017-18) the regulator passed multi-year tariff (until 2019-20).
In its previous order on October 23, 2017, for current financial year (2017-18) the regulator passed multi-year tariff (until 2019-20).(HT File )

Industrialists as well as domestic consumers conveyed their displeasure at the advisory committee meeting of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) on Thursday. The meeting was part of a process to decide tariff for 2018-19, to be applicable from April 1 this year. Members also questioned the justification for increase in tariff when the Punjab government and the PSPCL are grappling with issues of the previous tariff order.

In its previous order on October 23, 2017, for current financial year (2017-18) the regulator passed multi-year tariff (until 2019-20). However, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) in a revenue requirement petition filed in December, sought amendment in the tariff showing cumulative revenue gap of Rs 5,500 crore. This meant a hike of at least 17% in tariff, taking into account a portion of hike amount rejected by the PSPERC in the previous tariff order.

The state government is committed to pay a subsidy of Rs 10,000 crore for subsidy to the agriculture sector, and other consumer sections.

On Thursday, PS Virdi, a committee member representing domestic consumers, demanded treatment on a par with the industrial consumers, who have been promised tariff at Rs 5 a unit with effect from January 1, this year.

“Why is there no subsidy for us, when the government is subsidising industrial consumers and giving free power to agriculture pump sets,” Virdi said, demanding fixing of meters on the pump sets to check pilferage. He also asked the PSPCL to recover Rs 8,050 crore pending with government departments, because it affected all consumer sections. There are 20 lakh domestic consumers.

Lodging a strong protest, industrial representatives at the meeting claimed that the PSPCL did not abide by the regulations of the PSERC. “Why is the PSPCL seeking a hike on the amount in revenue gap, even as the PSERC had already rejected the idea,” said Rupinder Singh Sachdeva, president, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“The power corporation forces the industry to pay up as it twists the tariff order. When we challange this before the appellate, the corporation turns our valid claim into a long-drawn legal battle which consumes a lot of time and energy,” said Sachdeva. Members also raised the issue of improving the distribution system, which causes frequent breakdown, even as the state was power-surplus.

In its campaign for the state polls, the Congress had promised to subsidise power for industrial consumers. However, after assuming power, it found it difficult to pay the subsidy amount. The government has written to the PSERC that it will pay Rs 748 crore to the PSPCL as compensation to the PSPCL for subsidised power to industry. However, the moot question remains on where will the money come from.

The state government is committed to pay a subsidy of Rs 10,000 crore for subsidy to the agriculture sector, and other consumer sections.