Ignoring opposition protest, Andhra hikes electricity tariff

Hyderabad, March 30 (IANS) Ignoring opposition protests and despite an unprecedented electricity shortage, Andhra Pradesh government Saturday hiked the electricity tariff by about 15 percent, imposing over Rs.6,000 crore burden on people.

The Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) passed a new tariff order, which will come into effect from April 1. It has approved hike in tariffs for all categories – low tension domestic, commercial and high tension industrial consumers.

The hike for low tension consumers is 58 paise per unit, for high tension consumers Rs 1.12 per unit, for LT commercial Rs 1.13 per unit and the hike for HT general industrial category is 93 paise per unit.

The tariff has not been hiked for domestic consumers who consume less than 50 units per month. The tariff for them remains unchanged at at Rs 1.45 per unit. This is expected to benefit 97.4 lakh out of 2.24 crore consumers.

According to an official release, the revenue at the current tariffs will be Rs. 28,996 crore. The hike will enable four debt-ridden power distribution companies (Discoms) to raise an additional Rs.6,173 crore, an increase of 21 percent in the revenues.

The revenue requirement for the discoms for 2013-14 is estimated at Rs.40,639 crore. Despite the hike, the revenue deficit will be Rs.5,470 crore. The total energy requirement during the year will be 89,845 million units (MU) while APERC has approved sales of 77,410 MU, a deficit of 12,435 MU.

The APERC also decided to continue daily seven hours free supply to agriculture, benefiting 30.7 lakh consumers.

The tariff was hiked even as opposition parties were gearing up to intensify their protest over electricity crisis and the burden already imposed on people in the form of Fuel Surcharge Adjustment (FSA).

The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), whose fasting legislators were forcibly shifted to hospital by police late Friday night, decided to intensify the agitation. TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu announced that he would stage a sit-in in front of a power sub-station.

Leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launched indefinite fast. BJP state president G. Kishan Reddy along with other leaders began the hunger strike at Old MLA Quarters here.

After TDP, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) also announced its support to April 9 shutdown called by the Left parties.

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