Himachal Govt subsidy absorbs power hike shock

Shimla: Cushioning the impact of power tariff hike announced for domestic consumers by HP State Electricity commission on yesterday, the government stepped in today and declared a subsidy of Rs 166 crore, largely wiping out the additional burden for the domestic consumer.

Making the subsidy announcement, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said the government would bear the additional electricity tariff burden for the domestic consumer.

The power subsidy bill would increase from Rs 146 crore in 2010-11 to Rs 166 crore in 2011-12. The enhanced subsidy will ensure that the tariff increase for domestic consumers is marginal, said Dhumal.

The government has ensured that poor consumers would not have to bear the burden of this electricity tariff increase, he added.

Below poverty line consumers would continue to get power at old rates of 70 paisa per unit and tariff for agriculture LT category consumers would remain unchanged at 50 paisa per unit, said the chief minister.

Tariff for street lighting, commercial supply and small industries would also not be affected, he added.

An increase of Rs 200 crore for meeting increased employee costs of HP State Electricity Board (HPSEB) and a additional Rs 200 crore spent for buying merchant power to meet winter shortages made the electricity commission recommend a tariff increase in its order.

It is for the second consecutive year that the tariff has been increased and would fetch Rs 227 Crore additional revenue for HPSEB.

The commission in its order had reduced the subsidy for BPL families from 50 uto 40 units and increased tariff from Rs 1.80 to 2.10 per unit.

Based on power usage, four rates had been proposed for domestic consumer categories by the regulatory commission.

Upto 40 units of power consumed the rate would be Rs 2.35 per unit, between 41 to 125 units consumed the rate would be 2.50 per unit, between 126 and 250 the rate would be Rs 3.45 per unit and for more than 250 units used the rate applicable would be Rs 3.50 per unit, a commission spokesman said.

For Medium and small industry (20-100 Kw) the charges had been increased from Rs 3.05 to 3.30; for Extra High Tension (ETH) supply of 300 kVA the rate had been increased from Rs 2.60 to 2.85 and for above 300 kVA supply the rate increase was from Rs 2.80 to Rs 3.25 per unit.

For High Tension (HT) supply of 300 kVA the rate had been increased from 2.80 to 3.05 and for about 300 kVA it has been increased from Rs 3 to 3.25.

In case of bulk supply charges for HT supply increase to Rs 3.50 from 3.15 and for EHT supply they increase to 3.35 from 3.05 per unit, the commission had announced.

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