Nearly 2.5 crore power consumers in the State are in for a rude shock as the AP Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) on Saturday permitted power utilities to hike tariffs by 23 per cent from April 1.
As a result of the APERC’s latest order, a sum of Rs.6,500 crore will go into the coffers of the distribution companies during the 2013-14 fiscal. The overall burden on the consumers in the recent past, including the latest hike, will be a whopping amount of Rs.18,025 crore.
The Commission has already permitted the discoms to collect a huge amount of Rs.11,525 crore as Fuel Surcharge Adjustment (FSA) charges in the name of absorbing the price variations of fuels such as coal, gas, naphtha and RLNG.
This is still not the end. The Commission has just completed a public hearing on the proposals submitted by discoms to collect a further amount of Rs.1,068 crore as FSA for the third quarter of 2012-13. If this is also permitted, the overall burden will rise to Rs.19,093 crore.
According to the latest revision, the tariff will be hiked on an average by 15 per cent for domestic and commercial consumers, 23 per cent for heavy industries and 19 per cent for light industries. Virtually, no section of consumers has been spared. Even for those using less than 100 units a month, the tariff will be Rs.1.45 a unit for the first 50 units and Rs.3.25 a unit (Rs.2.60 now) for the next 50 units. The free supply to agriculture sector has been retained while the tariff for street-lighting and drinking water supply schemes is increased steeply. The APERC rejected the plea by the discoms to raise Rs.12,723 crore through fresh hike following a subsidy of Rs.5,500 crore offered by the government at the last minute.
The Commission provided some relief to consumers by rejecting the discoms’ proposal to introduce non-telescopic system of billing (collection of the tariff for entire consumption at the rate applicable to the highest slab) replacing the present telescopic system. Another relief was the increase of slabs in the domestic sector from six to 10. Also, APERC rejected the revenue requirement proposals of discoms to raise Rs.49,189 crore and restricted the projected revenue to Rs.40,649 crore. It did not consider the discoms’ claim that an additional capacity of 3,730 MW would come into existence during the year and ruled out the possibility of synchronisation of the Hinduja project near Visakhapatnam this year.