Uproar over steep increase in electricity bills after tariff revision in July last

A large section of consumers whose monthly electricity bills have shown a steep increase since the tariff was revised in July this year, have petitioned the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission to review the current billing pattern. The consumers are outraged by the sharp escalation of the monthly dues and have demanded that the Commission rework the tariff structure and reintroduce the 201-400 units slab that has been dispensed with in the new tariff order.

In July this year, the Commission announced a revised tariff order that spelt an increase of 20 per cent across board for all categories of consumers.

The Regulatory Commission, however, asserts that the restructuring of consumption slabs has little to do with the surge in bills.

The Commission has put forth that even if the slabs were to be reinstated, consumers would still have to pay as per the revised per unit charge.

P.D. Sudhakar, chairperson of the DERC, admitting that the Commission has been approached for a revision, said: “We have received petitions from consumers and we are examining the issue. But restructuring of the slabs has not affected the bills as severely as perceived. Even if the slabs were not restructured the bills would have remained more or less the same because there would have been an increase in the unit charges for the 201-400 slab as well.”

In the revised tariff order, the DERC announced the withdrawal of the 201-400 units slab, which in turn put the consumers in a higher tariff bracket.

Earlier, all consumers were beneficiaries of the subsidy that the government gave for consumption under 200 units, however, after the tariff revision; only those consumers who use less than 200 units can avail of the subsidy.

As per the new order consumer who use between 201-400 units are billed at Rs. 4.80 per unit, earlier these consumers were billed at subsidised rates for 0-200 units consumption, then at Rs. 3.60 for 201-400 units consumption.

The DERC decision to restructure the slabs and doing away with the slab of 200-400 units has increased the power tariff in the 0-400 units slab by about 33 per cent, in addition to that the consumers have to pay eight per cent surcharge on the total amount.

Consumers in the city have been hit hard by the increase in the power tariffs as well as by the quarterly fuel surcharge that is being allowed to the discoms.

The uproar over a steep increase in electricity bills has also forced power distribution companies to seek government’s intervention. Power distribution company Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) has written to the Delhi Government to consider offering a subsidy to the consumers who use up between 0-400 units of power.

According to the TPDDL sources the, company has suggested that the government should offer a subsidy for the consumers who use up to 400 units a month, at least for the duration of the peak summer months.

“We received a lot of complaints from the consumers about a steep increase in their bills. Earlier, all consumers who used up to 200 units a month were offered a subsidy by the Delhi Government. Also, there was a slab for those who used between 201-300 units, but the DERC did away with that slab and these consumers are now charged for 0-400 units. We have therefore, suggested, that the Delhi Government should consider the consumer’s views and work out a subsidy package for them,” said a TPDDL official.

The Delhi Government is yet to take a decision on the issue, but sources indicated that the government may not be able to extend subsidy given the financially liability.

As per the revised tariff list, for consumers in the 2-kW connected load category who use between 0-200 units, the charges are Rs.3.70 per kWh, between 0-400 Rs.4.80 per kWh, and for 400 and above Rs.6.40 per kWh.

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