Amid heavy sloganeering, public hearing adjourned for 30 minutes

Mild tension prevailed at the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (APERC) public hearing here on Saturday, as representatives of several farmers’ associations and political parties vociferously opposed the power tariff hike mooted by the Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (APSPDCL).

The hearing began with a presentation by APSPDCL Chairman and MD H.Y. Dora, who put forward the achievements of the Southern Discom, along with proposed power tariff hike and steps to be taken for effective power distribution. But, the proceedings had to be adjourned by APERC Chairman V. Bhaskar for more than 30 minutes as the farmers’ association representatives and activities of several political parties raised slogans and refused to calm down.  

YSRC Spokesperson B. Janak Prasad said the failure of the government to ensure supply of coal and natural gas to power projects had forced the Discoms to generate power at a higher cost with imported raw materials. TDP activists also flayed the officials for being unable to curb the transmission and distribution (T&D) losses. Quoting experts’ opinion, they said that Rs.400 crore could be saved by reducing the loss by 1 per cent. Meanwhile, in a statement, CPI (M) State Secretary B.V. Raghavulu said that in last four financial years, the commission had permitted tariff hike to the tune of Rs.12, 605 crore and Fuel Surcharge Adjustment (FSA) for the last five years stood at Rs.12,800 crore. “Due to the proposed hike, the average hike is 28.2 per cent and 23.9 per cent for LT and HT categories,” the statement read.

Members of farmers’ associations demanded that the government provide uninterrupted power at free of cost to ryots in the morning instead of at nights as the latter would serve no purpose.