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'Powerless' consumers stare at another tariff hike

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  24 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Failing to increase power supply, loss-making APDCL eyeing BPL consumers too

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, April 23: The Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) has miserably failed to improve the power supply scerio in the State, but that does not deter it from trying desperately to put the burden on the common man. In yet another bid to cover its continuing revenue loss, the APDCL is now putting together a proposal to hike power tariff covering all sections of consumers from the fincial year 2015-16. Even BPL category poor consumers will bear the brunt of this proposed hike, if the APDCL has its way.

A successor company of the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB), the APDCL had proposed a hike in power tariff a few months back. However, the proposal was put on hold by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. Now, the APDCL is taking another approach to hike power tariff. Sources said the BPL category families are provided power supply under the Jeevan Dhara scheme. “A BPL family gets 0.5KW-1KW of power at a fixed charge of Rs 15 per month under the Jeevan Dhara scheme. But as per the new proposal of the APDCL, a BPL family will now have to shell out Rs 25 per month for the same amount of power supply. Under the very scheme, existing cost of per unit of energy is Rs 4.10 per month but as per the new proposal, per unit of energy will cost Rs 4.35 per month. This will create a burden on the BPL families,” sources said.

The APDCL has also proposed to hike power tariff for categories which consume 0.5KW-below 4KW to 5KW-below 20KW of power per month. “As per the new proposal, for consuming 0.5KW-below 4KW of power every month, one will have to pay a monthly fixed charge of Rs 50 per KW instead of the existing monthly fixed charge of Rs 30. In this category, monthly charge of per unit of energy consumption will be increased to Rs 5.30 from the existing Rs 4.95. For consuming 5KW-below 20KW of power every month, one will have to pay a monthly fixed charge of Rs 60 per KW instead of the existing Rs 30 per month. In this category, monthly charge of per unit of power consumption will be increased to Rs 7.10 from the existing Rs 6.85,” the new proposal stated.

The APDCL has given the power tariff hike proposal for the fincial year 2015-16 to the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC) which will hold a public hearing on the issue. After the public hearing, a fil decision will be taken in this regard.

The APDCL, in its official records, has shown revenue shortfalls of Rs 558.74 crore and Rs 289.15 crore in the fincial years 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively; hence its proposal to hike power tariff.

When Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was asked on the proposed power tariff hike by the APDCL, he said, “There may be some reasons behind the power tariff hike proposal. The government will also look after the interests of common people.”

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