The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission delivered one more electric shock to the Capital’s citizens on Tuesday, announcing an increase of about 26% in the monthly power bills beginning July 1.

Announcing the revised electricity tariff for 2012-13, the regulator gave the power distribution companies an overall raise of 20.87% across various categories. In addition, all consumers will have to pay a surcharge of 8% on the total bill.

Incidentally two of the discoms — BRPL and Tata Power — had sought an increase of less than 20% in their petitions to the DERC.

The overall hike in the energy charges will be 27.88% in the Tata Power areas, 25.47% in the BRPL areas and 24.29% in the BYPL area.

Consumer in all categories except in the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) areas will also have to pay a surcharge of 8% on the bill. This surcharge is being levied to pay off purportedly accumulated debts which currently are as high as Rs.5,800 crore. The huge jump in rates has been attributed to the deficit accumulated by the discoms over the past few years. Consumers in the NDMC areas will not have to pay this 8% surcharge since the NDMC is the only discom with a surplus of Rs.400 crore.

As per the revised tariff order, the revised tariff in the domestic category is Rs.5.17 per kWh; for commercial category it is Rs.8.84 kWh; and for industrial consumers it is Rs.7.69 kWh. For the average consumer in the domestic category the average rate of power after the 8% surcharge will now be Rs.5.58. The DERC has also revised the unit slabs. Earlier the three slabs were 0-200, 200-400 and above 400. Now the slabs are 0-200, 0-400 and above 400, which will put an additional burden on consumers, because only those consumers who fall within the 0-200 unit slab will be able to benefit from the one-rupee subsidy that the Government offers in this slab.

Earlier, a consumer who used 300 units of energy was billed as per the per unit charge for the first slab of 0-200 units and for the additional 100 as per the second slab of 200-400, but now consumers will be charged uniformly as per the 0-400 slab which is higher than the first slab.

As per the revised tariff list, for consumers in the 2-kW connected load category who use between 0-200 units, the charges will be Rs.3.70 per kWh, between 0-400 Rs.4.80 per kWh, and for 400 and above Rs.6.40 per kWh. The fixed charges too have been increased by Rs.10 per month from Rs.30 to Rs.40 in this category.

The monthly fixed charges for consumers having a sanctioned load of up to 2 kW have been increased from Rs.30 to Rs.40, while consumers having sanctioned load between 2 kW to 5 kW will have to pay Rs.100 as fixed charges instead of current Rs.75.

The fixed charges for consumers having a sanctioned load of above 5 kW will have to pay Rs.20 instead of current Rs.15.

The DERC has abolished the existing quarterly fuel price adjustment (FPA) mechanism and replaced it with a quarterly purchase price adjustment (PPA), in which variations in the power purchase during any quarter will be recovered in the subsequent quarter as a percentage variation over the approved tariff.

DERC chairman P. D. Sudhakar said the average hike is 20.87% in all categories and domestic tariff has been hiked by 26%. “There was no hike in tariffs in the past several years which led to a huge deficit for all three discoms. After studying the tariff petitions, carrying out prudence checks and our own assessment we have allowed a hike of 20.87% overall. We have to take into account the rising price of fuel — coal and gas — and the rise in other overheads like salaries for the discom employees.”

He said power tariff hikes in future will not be as high and will be aimed at meeting the past deficits and not current costs.

“With the 22% hike that was announced in August 2011, the discoms were able to lower the deficit by Rs.1,200 crore; with the hike of 20.87% this year, they will meet another Rs.700 crore, but since there will still be an outstanding of Rs.5800 crore, in future the tariff hike will be aimed at meeting this deficit,” said DERC member J. P. Singh.

The DERC had in August last year hiked the tariff by 22% for all categories of consumers. That was followed by a 5% hike in February and another 2% in May on account of fuel price adjustment.

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