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Home News Power Sector News Goa govt decides to subsidise power tariff for consumers

Goa govt decides to subsidise power tariff for consumers

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GoaPower minister Pandurang Madkaikar, stung by criticism from cabinet colleagues and the opposition alike, on Monday announced the government’s decision to increase the subsidy on power so that domestic consumers don’t feel the pinch of increased tariffs.
Madkaikar said low tension domestic consumers who use up to 200 units of power a month, as well as all categories of agriculture consumers, will continue to pay old tariff rates. “The order of the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) is mandatory, so we have decided to subsidise it,” he told reporters.

“Not even the 4.9% hike that we initially proposed will be applicable. The decision was taken so that consumers don’t feel the pinch.” Madkaikar, however, said that there would be a marginal increase in tariff for consumers who consume more than 200 units of power.

“People should take precautions and be more conscious while using power,” he said. TOI was the first to report the tariff hike.

The decision not to pass on the hike to domestic and agriculture consumers will benefit more than 3.4 lakh low tension domestic consumers and 10,700 agriculture consumers, Madkaikar said.

He said ministers Francis D’Souza and Vijai Sardesai called him with suggestions, and that former power minister Digambar Kamat was also concerned about the hike.

The subsidy decision, under Section 65 of the Goa Electricity Act, 2013, was taken after a meeting with principal secretary to the chief minister, P Krishnamurthy, secretary for finance and power Daulat A Hawaldar, chief electrical engineer N N Reddy, and other officials from the electricity department.

“Tomorrow we are going to notify the decision and will write a letter to JERC,” Madkaikar said. “This is the final decision.”

The JERC, in its latest tariff order, had highlighted the department’s ‘over-reliance’ on government budgetary support. Madkaikar said the department couldn’t sustain itself without budgetary support, and instead of passing on the entire burden to consumers, the department, after approval of the cabinet and chief minister in August last year, had agreed to propose a 4.9% average tariff hike.

The electricity department had estimated a revenue gap of Rs 473 crore for 2018-19, of which it proposed to meet the gap of Rs 394 crore through budgetary support from the Goa government and Rs 79 crore through a tariff hike. Madkaikar blamed the department’s revenue gap partly on 70,000 defective and non-functional commercial meters. The department is in the process of replacing 3 lakh meters and is expected to generate a lot of revenue from that, he said. Smart meters will first be installed in Panaji, he said.


Source- TOI


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