Cash-strapped state electricity distribution companies (discoms) -- Uttar Haryana Bijli Nigam Ltd (UHBVN) and Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Ltd (DHBVN) -- have proposed a sharp 15% hike in power tariff for all categories of consumers.
According to the annual revenue requirement (ARR) petitions for 2015-16 filed before Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC), the two discoms have admitted distribution losses of 28.6% in the current financial year, while projecting a minor improvement next year. According to the ARR, the companies have projected distribution losses at 24.79% for 2015-16. HERC has sought objections to the proposed tariff hike by discoms from the public by December 29.
According to ARR petitions, UHBVN and DHBVN have projected revenue gaps of Rs 3,898 crore and Rs 2,820 crore respectively. This comes along with a loss of over Rs 6,000 crore to the two companies on account of subsidy to agriculture consumers.
Domestic electricity consumers are charged a minimum Rs 4.50 per unit for consumption up to 250 units per month and Rs 5.98 per unit for monthly consumption between 501 and 800 units. Further, all consumers have to pay fuel surcharge adjustments (FSA) component in the bimonthly electricity bill, which is 26-30% of the total billed amount.
Officials in DHBVN and UHBVN justified the proposal for tariff hike saying that rates in the state have not been revised for the past two years. "Meanwhile, expenses have gone up by at least 20%. We will clarify everything before the HERC during the hearing of petitions," a senior UHBVN official said. He, however, refused comment on FSA issue.
Reacting to the proposed tariff hike, Rakesh Aggarwal, office-bearer of a resident welfare association in Panchkula, termed it as a penalty for honest bill payers. "Why don't the distribution companies recover their arrears? An honest intention to do so will bring down the rates drastically. Else, living in Haryana will be a curse for electricity consumers," he said.
The opposition parties have also slammed the discoms' proposal for a stiff hike in power tariff. INLD general secretary R S Chaudhary has termed the proposed raise in tariff by power companies as unfortunate. "This clearly shows that 'achhe din' (good days) are no more in sight, but 'kadwe ghoot' (bitter swigs) are awaiting us all. Increase in power tariff, if allowed, will have long-term implications and will force residents to leave the state," he observed.