Electricity consumers in Punjab should brace themselves for another hike from October as the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has allowed Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to pass on the fuel cost adjustment (FCA) surcharge to the state residents.
However, this hike is expected to be on the lower side as PSERC has asked PSPCL to adjust Rs 27.21 crore while calculating the final FCA amount the corporation will recover from consumers. The extra FCA of Rs 27.21 crore was charged by the corporation without permission of PSERC from consumers in March 2013. FCA is calculated on a quarterly basis by the PSPCL on the basis of change in cost of fuels - usually an increase.
PSPCL has already submitted FCA amount of around Rs 260 crore to PSERC for the third and fourth quarters of financial year 2012-2013. Last year, PSPCL had passed on the increase of Rs 500 crore in fuel cost to the consumers. However, according to a PSPCL official, the final FCA would be calculated by August, based on which there might be a further rise in electricity rates.
In January this year, PSPCL had started imposing FCA surcharge of 16 paisa per unit for metered category and Rs 24/BHP/month for the unmetered category (agriculture pump). In its orders, PSERC has also warned the corporation against charging FCA without its approval. The authority has also directed the corporation to work out fuel cost on the basis of the gross calorific value (GCF) - a new pricing technique - of coal and if not done so, "it will be considered non-compliance of PSERC orders".
In April, PSERC had ordered an average hike of 9% in power tariff. In the domestic category, the hike was 47 paise per unit from Rs 4.09 to Rs 4.56 per unit (increase of 11.49%) for consumers using power up to 100 units. For consumption up to 300 units, the hike was of 53 paise per unit (from 5.49 paise to 6.02 paise) and for consumption above 300 units, the hike was 63 paise per unit from Rs 5.81 paise to Rs 6.44 paise.
In the commercial sector, the hike was of 42 paise per unit for consumption up to 100 units and 55 paise per unit for consumption above 100 units.