KOCHI: The thermal surcharge slapped on consumers will increase the financial burden on people who are reeling under the rising prices of essential commodities, said Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy.
Talking to mediapersons here on Monday, Mr. Chandy said that the burden would work out to 70 paise per unit though the government slapped a surcharge of 50 paise.
The UDF government had earlier given a subsidy of 20 paise per unit. However, the LDF government later abolished it.
Taking into account these factors, the additional burden that the consumer would have to bear per unit would be 70 paise, he said.
“For a consumer who uses 81 units, the additional burden will be Rs.40.50.
Though the government has stated that those using power below 80 units will be exempted from the surcharge, only a few persons will be benefiting from the offer,” he said.
The government should extend the Kerala State Electricity Board subsidy and free consumers from the additional burden. The present power crisis in the State was on account of the sale of power that was additionally generated by the board using summer showers. The board thus gained a revenue of Rs.1,500 crore by selling power, Mr. Chandy said.
The LDF had earlier unleashed a series of agitations in the State when the A.K. Antony government increased the power tariff. Considering the protest, the Antony government had also withdrawn the hike, he said.