Ahead of the festive season, the power distribution companies, in Bihar, are pushing for tariff hike. They are also planning to impose Fuel Surcharge in a bid to put the operation costs down.
According to state government officials, these companies are already reeling under heavy losses. Officials insist that therefore, it's imperative for them to pass some of their burden to the customers.
The state owned power distribution companies have recently submitted their revised proposal to the Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC), in which they have asked for 30-50 per cent hike in the power tariffs. However, the BERC has shown reluctance to accept this proposal. Instead they may allow up to 10-12 percent hike, says the sources. These companies are reeling under heavy losses.
"Power today is one of the costliest commodities in the country," said one of the senior officials of the Energy Department, "We are trying our level keep our costs at minimum, but the losses for the current fiscal year have become unbearable. We believe our revenue gap for this year would be more than Rs 4,000 crore. Our DISCOMs are already reeling under heavy losses of previous year; therefore we have been left with no other option."
Government officials have blamed Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) like NTPC and Power Grid for this. "We are fully dependent on NTPC for electricity. They have recently increased their prices, leaving us with no other option. NTPC has upped its tariffs citing the rising prices of coal. They served us with an extra bill for Rs 250 crore on account of coal price hike. Power Grid has doubled its bill to Rs 36 crore, which was just Rs 16 crore in the last fiscal,"said the official.
"The rising operational cost of DISCOMs has drained them. Therefore, we may have to impose some extra surcharges to get some extra money. Delaying tariff hike would be very bad for the financial health of our DISCOMs."
Source- Business standard