Power tariff hiked in Punjab

Chandigarh, April 10 (IANS) People in Punjab may not get regular supply of power but their bills will continue to go up. The state’s power sector regulator Wednesday announced an average hike of over nine percent in tariff for consumers in Punjab.

“There will be an average increase of 9.06 per cent in power tariff for 2013-14. It will be in effect from April 1, 2013, till March 31, 2014,” Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) chairperson Romila Dubey said here.

Farmers in the agrarian state get free power for agriculture purposes.

The opposition Congress was quick to slam the power tariff hike, terming it as a major burden on the common man.

Lashing out at the “exorbitant hike”, former chief minister Amarinder Singh sought its immediate withdrawal, saying it would upset the economy of the common people across the state.

“The government had no moral right to increase the tariff when it has not been able to provide adequate power to consumers much against its claims of being power surplus,” he said.

He claimed that the actual hike in power tariff was not nine percent, as claimed by the PSERC, but worked out to 12 percent.

“They are not just robbing the people, they are cheating them as well,” Amarinder said.

He said that in the six-year rule of the Akali Dal-BJP government in Punjab, the cumulative increase in the power tariff has been 79 per cent, while during the Congress regime between 2002 and 2007 the total hike in power tariff was only 22 per cent.

As per the latest increase announced by the PSERC, to restrict demand during peak hours (10 p.m. to 6 a.m.), the peak load hours hike will be 50 percent.

For the industrial sector, the hike will be around 12.83 percent for small, medium and large industries.

For the domestic consumers, the hike will be between 47 to 63 paise per unit in various slabs.

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