After FSA, move to increase power tariff upsets them

Already wilting under sharp criticism from within over the hefty surcharge levied on power consumers, the Congress leaders are now jittery over the latest move to hike power tariffs once again.

Having already angered the consumers by imposing Fuel Surcharge Adjustment (FSA), the Government as well as power utilities were only rubbing salt on their wounds, Congress party leaders say.

They joined the chorus of other opposition parties in demanding review of the decision while Congress MLCs -- K. Yadava Reddy and K.R. Amos openly hit out at Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy for burdening consumers further.

“Why are such crucial issues not discussed with all senior leaders? We want the Chief Minister to realise that this move is totally wrong,” they said. They said Congressmen have lost count of the number of times tariff had been hiked by the present regime.

Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy, another Congress MLC, demanded withdrawal of the proposal while Government Whip Rudraraju Padmaraju echoed similar views.

When contacted, at least three Ministers, while refusing to go on record, said the hike had been poorly timed since the ruling party was already grappling with two prickly issues -- Statehood for Telangana, defections to the YSR Congress.

A Minister feared the Congress may have to pay a heavy price in the elections but hastened to add that the Government had few options, given the precarious power situation. “Hydel generation has been hit due to poor monsoon and inadequate gas supplies for thermal stations have only compounded the situation”, he added.

The Government, he said, was forced to purchase RLNG-based power at Rs 10 a unit. Another Minister defended the Government, claiming that AP alone was not facing the crisis. “Look at Tamil Nadu and Karnataka where the consumers are paying higher tariffs,” the Minister said.

Leaders, who know the ground realities, are pinning hopes on Eastern grid to be linked with the southern grid so that the power transmission becomes easier in the next few months.

Presently, the Government is getting RLNG from the Western grid at exorbitant rates.

  • Three Ministers, while refusing to go on record, say the hike has been poorly timed

  • Another Minister defends government, says power tariff higher in neighbouring States