Where’s Rs 5-a-unit power for Punjab industry? 10 days past new deadline, minister says ‘another week’
Earlier, the Captain Amarinder Singh-led government had assured the industry that from November 1 the rates will come down to Rs 5 a unit.punjab Updated: Jan 11, 2018 10:00 IST
Industrial units in Punjab continue to get power bills as per old rates — including a hike of 8.5 to 11.88% announced in October — and it’s now been 10 days since the government’s newest deadline for notification of a flat rate of Rs 5 a unit.On December 19, power minister Rana Gurjit Singh had met industry representatives and promised to implement three main demands.
This included that the government will bear half the implication of the increased tariff — with effect from April to October 2017 — which meant Rs 300 crore. And he had said the two-part tariff Introduced by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) would be applicable from January 1, 2018.
Following up on the promise of Rs 5 per unit, as per the Congress manifesto, the government agreed that the tariff for industry would be Rs 5 per unit as variable cost, with no change in the fixed cost as announced by the PSERC for year 2017-18.
““If a furnace was previously getting a bill of Rs 1 crore/month, after the increase and the arrears, there is now an added bill of Rs 10 to 15 lakh, which makes business non-viable.” — Mohinder Gupta, president of Punjab Furnaces Association
“This will have an impact of Rs 1,100-1,150 crore a year, and effective from January 1, 2018,” the power department had then said. A spokesman had also said that the two-part tariff would be applicable from January 1. However, maximum overall rate (MOR) will be fixed for medium supply (MS) and large supply (LS) industry from January 1 to March 31. This would be Rs 6.57 a unit for MS and Rs 6.89 a unit for LS as fixed by the PSERC for 2017-18. In this case, the minimum monthly charge as determined by the PSERC shall be applicable, he said.
“The government has not fulfilled its promise,” said Rupinder Singh Sachdeva, president of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.As the PSERC increased the tariff with effect from April 1 of 2017, industry was asked to pay up the accrued dues in six instalments. Sachdeva said the industry is getting bill as per the same scheme of things.
“It seems the government is playing pranks with the industry,” said Mohinder Gupta, president of Punjab Furnaces Association. There are 70 arc and induction furnaces in Mandi Gobindgarh alone and 115 in the state overall. “If a furnace was getting a bill of Rs 1 crore a month with the previously applicable tariff, after the increase and the arrears added to it, there is now an added bill of Rs 10 to 15 lakh, which makes business non-viable,” said Gupta.
Additional chief secretary, power, Satish Chandra said, “The government has taken an in-principle decision, and a notification is awaited, but is expected any day now.”
Minister Rana Gurjit said, “We are expected to notify the decisions of December 19 in a week’s time.”
Earlier, the Captain Amarinder Singh-led government had assured the industry that from November 1 the rates will come down to Rs 5 a unit. However, owing to lack of funds, the promise couldn’t materialise. On December 19, the deadline was pushed to January 1, 2018.