The slab is such that a multi-millionaire employing several ACs and other appliances adding up to over 5,000 units per month will pay the same as a middle-class consumer running a single AC burning up a little over 500 units
Power charges might have become a luxury component in the monthly budgets of poor, middle and upper middle class consumers alike. But the power officials have been covertly kinder towards the ultra rich in fixing the slabs, even while increasing the tariff rates in each slab exponentially for services exceeding 200 units of monthly consumption.
It might appear very unfair in the days of austerity, but the existing slab rates will not differentiate between running one air-conditioner from running seven air-conditioners, provided the service pertains to a single domestic establishment.
For example, a multi-millionaire industrialist employing several ACs and other power-intensive appliances adding up to over 5,000 units of consumption per month will pay in the same slab as a middle-class consumer running a single AC during summer and burning up a little over 500 units.
Within the limits of GHMC, the number of consumers using over 5,000 units of power in the month of March stands at 274.
What’s more, only three divisions namely Banjara Hills, Kukatpally, and Bowenpally, account for more than 50 per cent of these consumers.
With total units consumed by them standing at a whopping 31.5 lakh per month, per capita average consumption of the super rich in GHMC is very high, and hovers at nearly 11,500 units per month. A few of these consume even over 20,000 units of power per month! Centrally air-conditioned houses, elevators between floors, extensive electrical cooking ranges, and pump-sets for swimming pools are some features that constitute spiralling domestic consumption.
Number of services consuming over 500 units per month stands at over 66,000 in the CPDCL limits. Of them, over 61,000 services are from the six circles of GHMC alone.
The case for having a separate slab for the ultra rich gains strength by the fact that services with monthly consumption between 500 and 1,000 units alone stand at 48,500, leaving a slender minority that consumes lakhs of units without the burden of guilt or penalties.
To give the devil its due, similar slabs prevail all over the country, barring Maharashtra, which has a separate slab for those consuming over 1,000 units of power per month. CPDCL officials justify the inequitable tariff slabs on the pretext that the rich might opt for solar power if pushed to a corner!