In a curious turn of events, the AP Central Power Distribution Company (APCPDCL) has realised, rather unexpectedly that its penalties for overconsumption of power are proving to be a blessing in disguise for the industrial consumers.
Since the time the power holiday regime was replaced with the monthly allocation of power to the industries and other HT consumers, loads on the system have reportedly risen phenomenally. Though the officials are not parting with the figures, industries are understood to be binging on power with absolutely no attention paid to the penalties.
Officials on the condition of anonymity informed that the Restriction and Control Measures approved by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) have failed in either restricting or controlling the consumption. If any, they have merely assured more revenues for the cash-strapped CPDCL.
According to the APERC orders issued over 10 days ago, the HT consumers have to shell out three times the normal tariff as penalty for every extra unit of power consumption than that was allotted to them. During the peak hours, i.e, between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., the overdrawing will be punished by five times the normal tariff per unit. Also prescribed were limits on consumption and demand, based on the consumer category.
The orders were issued after the CPDCL, on behalf of all Discoms, made a representation to the Commission seeking its approval for imposing penalties in view of severe power shortage in the state.
However, with steep rise in diesel price shortly after the orders were issued, industries seem to have chosen the lesser of both evils. The use of diesel generator will cost them between Rs.16 and Rs.20 per unit on an average, whereas the penalty at three times the normal tariff will still stay below Rs.12 per unit in most cases.
Further, continuous use of gensets will give rise to maintenance problems in the long-run.
Till very recently, the industrial consumers in the State enjoyed low tariffs compared to those in other States. The HT industrial tariff for 2011-12 ranged between Rs.2.65 per unit for Ferro Alloys industries and Rs.3.52 per unit for industries drawing 11KV supply. In the current year, the tariff was slightly increased between Rs.3.65 and Rs.4.80 for the respective categories.
Now in a tight spot, the company is reportedly mulling over other options of penalising the overconsumption.