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Home News Power Sector News Govt. fails to pay advance subsidy - powercom issues inflated bills

Govt. fails to pay advance subsidy - powercom issues inflated bills

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PunjabUrban and Industrial consumers in Punjab continue to get inflated bills since the state government has failed to pay advance to the new unbundled power utility , Powercom. Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) last month reduced power bills for industry after promise of 550 Crore subsidy by Punjab Government. But even the half-way roll back of tariff in urban and industrial sectors, as agreed upon by the ruling coalition, would cost Rs 550 crore to the Punjab exchequer, pushing the debt-ridden state into a deeper fiscal crisis. By the time, the proposal got PSERC nod, this amount was further reduced to Rs 333 crore.

According to sources in Powercom, the advance which the Punjab government had to pay PSERC to reduce the billing is yet to come. Although the regulator has already given approval to reduce the bills, the impact will only be seen on paper when the advance comes for the government. "We are waiting for the advance subsidy before we roll back the bills. After unbundling, it is not possible for the new power entity to continue giving the subsidy without advance payment," sources revealed.

The matter was raised in the Cabinet on Monday by local bodies and industries minister Manoranjan Kalia, following which the chief minister asked the chief secretary to look into it.

The issue of reducing power bills for industry had created a deep rift in the SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab and was finally settled in Delhi, after the chief minister held meetings with senior leaders of its alliance partner. Succumbing to BJP pressure, the Punjab government had in January decided to set off the enhanced portion of power tariff in domestic, commercial and industrial sectors in the state. The decision was taken to safeguard SAD-BJP alliance in the state.

The government had announced that outstanding bills for the domestic sector would be reimbursed through this adjustment for a complete year from March 31, 2009, to April 1, 2010. The relief to commercial and industrial sectors in this form would be for six months of the revised tariff. Adjustment in bills would be made with effect from this April.

Source- Times of India

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