APERC spares common consumers

By TheHindu on 01 Apr 2017 | read

A majority of power consumers in the domestic and agriculture sector in the low tension category are spared from tariff hike for the financial year 2017-18.

Charges for the low tension domestic Group C category with annual consumption of more than 2,700 units, numbering about 5.83 lakh consumers, have been hiked by 3%. The increase for the low tension industry (general) category has also been 3% while for high tension (HT-I) industries it has been fixed at 3.6%. The hike for other residuary category has been restricted at 4% for the year.

In the retail supply tariffs released here on Friday, the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission said 1.44 crore of the total 1.59 crore consumers, constituting 90.5% remained unaffected as their energy charges had been kept unchanged. In all, 15.47 lakh consumers availing seven hours free power supply remained unaffected while the commission also rejected the licensees’ (power utilities) request to impose fixed charges on domestic consumers.

Over 50% of the LT - II (A) non-domestic/commercial consumers of up to 50 units a month as also the consumers under LT-IV running cottage industries remained unaffected by the tariff hike. Customer charges of ₹ 10 a month had been imposed on domestic Group B consumers with annual consumption between 900 and 2,700 units. Tariffs for the year had been fixed after the State Government agreed to pay total subsidy of ₹ 3,700 crore, as against ₹ 3,300 crore of the previous year. The overall tariff hike was pegged at 1.9%.

“The tariff order envisages hike of an estimated ₹ 800 crore for the affected consumers including energy and fixed charges. The proposal of the licensees for abnormal increase in delayed payments charges/interest (36% against the existing 18%) has also not been accepted,” APERC Chairman Justice G. Bhavani Prasad said. He added that another proposal for increasing the period of security deposit from 60 days to 75 days had also been rejected. He said that the licensees had shown an overall deficit of ₹ 8,065 crore and tried to cover it with tariff hike of ₹ 1,111 crore besides subsidy component of ₹ 6,937 crore.

“The tariff hike pegged at 3.79% by the licensees was in fact much more. The tariff hike to meet the principle of full cost recovery was restricted to barest minimum by the Commission on 9.5% of the total consumers,” he said. The Commission had in fact reduced the power purchase requirement by 434 million units and power purchase cost was reduced by ₹ 2,300 crore. The sales volume too was reduced by 510 million units to bridge the projected gap and restrict tariff hike to reasonable levels.

The Commission did not consider the request of the licensees for actual power purchase cost of ₹ 887 crore as also grant of additional surcharge for want of necessary data and material. For lift irrigation schemes under low tension category, the Commission directed the licensees to provide free supply of up to 1,200 units a year per HP and all agriculturists otherwise entitled to free power but for their connections being in urban areas were directed to be provided with free power on par with identically placed other agriculturists, he said.

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