No change in tariff ratefor farmers

Tariff revision proposed by the Electricity Department of Puducherry envisages a steep hike in power charges for domestic and commercial consumers.

As per the Aggregate Revenue Requirement (ARR) & Tariff Revision Petition (TRP) for 2013-14 submitted to the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission, Gurgaon, which is holding a public hearing in Puducherry on Friday, the minimum charge per unit of consumption would go up from 60 paise to Rs. 1.50 for domestic consumers and from Rs. 2.50 to Rs. 4.50 for commercial users. Domestic consumers who use 300 and above units would have to pay Rs. 4.50 per unit, which is Rs. 2.15 more than the existing tariff. Similarly, the rate for electricity consumption crossing 250 units would be Rs. 5.50, which is Rs. 1.20 more than the current tariff. However, no change was made to power consumed by farmers for agriculture, except a nominal increase in fixed charges. It means farmers would continue to get free power.

While for domestic consumers consuming between 101 and 200 units, the difference in hike would be Rs. 1.55. The consumption rate between 201-300 units would be Rs. 3.50. LT industrial consumption rate would go up from Rs. 3.4 per unit to Rs. 4.25. Similarly, charges for HT users have been proposed to be increased.

Sources in the Puducherry Electricity Department told The Hindu that the proposed hike was not final. Public could raise queries, doubts, objections if any to the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission. Based on the outcome of the public hearing, final order would be passed. On the necessity for a hike in tariff, an officer said production cost increases year after year. Cost of purchase of power, employee cost, research and maintenance cost, administration and general expenses had seen steep increase over the years. There was a big gap between production cost and realisation revenue.

Cost recovery rate from domestic consumers, which constitute 29 per cent among all consumers, was just 30.30 per cent in the existing tariff. As more than 99.16 per cent of electricity was being sold at less than average cost, the department had no option but to propose a tariff hike for all categories. The average realisation from consumers at current tariff was only 3.37/kWh compared to the average cost of 4.62 kWh leading to under realisation of 1.25 kWh. Therefore, there was an urgent need to revise tariff. It was proposed to recover the entire gap for the current year to the tune of Rs.306 crore.

As per the proposed cost recovery, cost recovery rate from domestic consumers would go up to 68 per cent from 30.30 per cent. The cost recovery rate of commercial and HT industrial would be more than 100 per cent.