‘0 to 200 units a month consumers are bearing the brunt’

The CPI(M) has resolved to stage protest against the electricity tariff hike during the public hearings to be conducted by Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission at Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati later this month and to exert pressure on the Government during Assembly’s Budget session beginning on March 11 for getting the hike rolled back.

The party alleged that people whose consumption ranged from 0 to 200 units a month were bearing the brunt of the hike. The hike for them amounted to 110 per cent of the previous rates as the telescopic system of billing was done away with while the high-end consumers accounted for more than 90 per cent of the increase in demand as electrical appliances like air-conditioners were indiscriminately used by them, according to a study done by the party’s think-tank.

The extreme volatility in prices of petroleum products which was the result of decontrolling by the Government and their cascading effect on the power sector in Andhra Pradesh caused the tariff to climb up substantially in addition to other contributory factors.

The tightening grip of the private sector on coal mining and exploration, production and marketing of natural gas had also fuelled the power tariff hike.

Besides, the Andhra Pradesh Government’s failure in getting gas linkages to the independent power producers was draining the economy as huge sums had to be spent on imports while the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) was minting money by selling gas found in the K-G basin to customers outside the State which granted the Right of Way to RIL without sparing a thought to the people’s right to be supplied gas at cheaper rates which was possible only when the RIL’s production from K-G basin was utilized locally. The Hiten Bhaya Committee report on electricity reforms submitted in 1995 was largely responsible for breaking of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board into generation, transmission and distribution companies and the consequences that followed, CPM State Secretary B.V. Raghavulu opined in a seminar on power sector held here on Wednesday.

  • ‘The extreme volatility in prices of petroleum products was the result of decontrolling’

  • Private sector grip on coal mining and marketing of natural gas fuelled tariff hike, says party