Himachal 2013 power tariff hike shocks domestic, industrial consumers

Shimla: Saddled with huge employee costs and high power purchase prices during winter lean season, power surplus Himachal state served a rude shock on consumers who have been burdened with a stiff price hike ranging from 8.83 % for street lighting to 16 percent for domestic users.

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Releasing the tariff order for 2013-14, the HP State Electricity Regulatory Commission reasoned that major cost for increase was employee cost and power purchase. While power purchase cost the HP State Electricity Board, the sole distribution company in the state Rs 3054.97 Cr, salaries and allowances for the board employees is put at Rs 1264.31 Cr.

For domestic consumers the average tariff stands increased from Rs 3.69 per unit to Rs 4.28 per unit (15.99%), for industry the increase is Rs 4.76 to Rs 5.50 per unit (15.47%), for street lighting the increase is from Rs 4.64 to Rs 5.05 (8.83%), for commercial the increase is from Rs 5.21 to Rs 5.95 (14.20%), for water pumping the increase is from Rs 4.45 to Rs 5.05 (13.48%).

The regulator approved a total revenue expenditure of Rs 4609.09 Crs while projecting a revenue income of Rs 4626.62 with new tariff for the year.

Income of sale of power with revised tariffs includes the additional generation capacity to be commissioned in the year which has been projected at Rs 544.64 Cr.

However, average tariff which in 2012-13 was Rs. 4.59 per unit stands increased to Rs. 5.20 (13.29%) per unit for 2013-14.

With the Himachal Pradesh government agreeing to partly bear the bolt of the tariff increase, an amount of Rs 320 Cr of direct subsidy would be provided for domestic consumers. Last year the government had provided Rs 270 Cr subsidy.

After absorbing the subsidy, for the 3 Lakh marginal and poor power consumers who only use about 40 units per month there would be no direct impact of the steep tariff increase.

In all there are 17,81,586 domestic consumers in Himachal and upto a 0-120 unit consumption, all would get some subsidy benefit.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik has nurtured Hill Post for over a decade. A chequered path had him drift from managing family owned apple orchards, to turning a documentary filmmaker, to a journalist - with India’s leading television networks and newspapers, to boot strapping in founding Start-Ups. He lives in Shimla.

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