With general and assembly elections looming on the horizon, Haryana's electricity distribution companies (discoms) - Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) - have sought a zero power tariff hike in the financial year 2014-15. However, the around 45 lakh electricity consumers across Haryana will have to shell out the fuel surcharge adjustment (FSA) which almost amounts to 23% of bill value in the current billing cycle.
FSA is the amount paid by discoms in making power-purchase agreements for spot buying and additional money spent by state-owned power plants on account of increase in rates of coal.
The north India chapter of All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) sees a hidden agenda in Haryana discoms' move of not recommending any increase in power charges. "Either the distribution companies plan to come out with heavy FSA in the next financial year or they have something else in mind," said Vinod Gupta, spokesman of north India chapter of AIPEF.
Unlike previous years, both power discoms have submitted their annual revenue requirements (ARR) for next three financial years. With Lok Sabha and Haryana assembly polls scheduled to be held in the next financial year, raises questions about the discoms' intention of recommending no increase in ARR.
In their ARR filed before the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC), UHBVN and DHBVN have shown a revenue loss of around of Rs 7,384 crore for the current and the next financial year.
UHBVN has pegged the loss at Rs 4,938 crore and DHBVN's shortfall is at Rs 2,446 crore. These include aggregate transmission and commercial (AT&C) losses, where some feeders have shown line losses of over 35% and have taken a toll on the common man as the burden to recover the money is shifted to the power consumers.
The distribution companies claimed that their losses would be covered through loans and help from the state treasury. However, officials of both discoms are tightlipped when asked about future course of action for 2015-16 and 2016-17 in terms of tariff hike.
The chairman-cum-managing director of UHBVN and DHBVN, Anurag Aggarwal, admitted that the discoms had not proposed any increase in power tariff. "We are expecting release of payment of subsidies and financial help from the state government to cover the losses. But FSA is beyond our control as it has to be added in the power bills as and when it comes. Since, the regulator is shifting towards multi-year tariff system and ARR, we have filed requirements for the next three financial years," he added.