The West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBERC) has allowed the power distribution companies in the state to hike their tariff . Accordingly, the average tariff per KWh for CESC would go up from its present rate of Rs 4.57 to Rs 4.73 and that of WBSEDCL from Rs 4.27 to Rs 4.72. In case of Dishergarh Power Supply Corporation the hike would be effective from its present rate of Rs 4.57 to Rs 4.73 and for DPL from Rs 3.15 to Rs 3.26. While the average hike in WBSEDCL's tariff is highest, Rs 0.45 paise per unit, DPL has a lowest hike of 0.11 paise. The enhanced rate of the power tariff will be effective retrospectively from April 1, 2010.
According to the WBREC notification, consumers would be billed for outstanding starting from August and it would be realised in eight instalments ending in March, 2011.
Last time the power tariff was hiked on average by 0.78 paise per unit in November, 2009 owing to the spiralling cost of coal, which is the major cost input for thermal power stations.
According to WBSEDCL sources, the cross subsidy elements have been reduced this time. Thus the load of the increase in the tariff has been equally spread over the various categories of consumers, leading to putting relatively less burden on the industrial consumers.
Another interesting feature of the new power tariff is that after five years the farmers will have to pay more for tapping electricity to irrigate their lands.
The state power department, considering the politically sensitiveness of the issue earlier the government used to resist any move to increase the tariff for the farmers.
But now the National Tariff Policy has forced the agencies to take a more realistic look at this which led to an increasing withdrawal of cross subsidy for the farmers.
There are around 1,15,000 connections of this category which are mostly unmetered in the state. As a part of the National Tariff Policy the WBSEDCL has just started installing meters for them. Till now the unmetered connections for shallow tube wells in North Bengal was used to be charged a fee of Rs 6750 per annum which is now increased to Rs 8235 per annum.
In South Bengal the same has been increased from Rs 8800 per annum to Rs 10376 per annum. For those who have metered connections will have to pay Rs 2.43 per Kwh, an increase of Rs 0.80.
But at the same time the WBERC has taken measured steps in order to encourage the rural poor to become electricity consumers under the ongoing Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Mission and lessened the burden of the rural poor consumers.
The amount of bill for the Life Line Consumers (who consume not more than 25 units a month and having a 300 watt connected load) has become cheaper by Rs 3 per month in CESC area and Rs 8 in WBSEDCL area.
Similarly the domestic consumers in urban area whose monthly consumption is up to 100 units will not have to pay than what they have been paying now in CESC area, whereas in WBSEDCL area they will have to pay Rs 38 extra per month.
The amount of bill for the commercial consumers in CESC area using up to 500 units per month will go up by Rs 71 per month and in WBSEDCL area the increase will be in the range of Rs 88 for the urban consumers and Rs 188 for the rural consumers.
The increase in the tariff will yield an additional Rs.800 crore per year in the revenue of WBSEDCL.
Source- Business standard