Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) is unlikely to hike tariffs despite Powercom insisting on 50% increase in rates.
Sources in Powercom said the government has made it clear that it was not in favour of tariff hike ahead of 2017 Assembly elections. Besides, at all public meetings of PSERC at Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jalandhar, consumers -- both industrial and domestic -- expressed resentment against Powercom's tariff hike proposal.
"The long-pending demand of industrialists of restarting night rebate on power tariff is also likely to be accepted," they added.
Jagbeer Sokhi, president of Sewing Machine Development Club, said, "Every industry is facing crisis due to fall in demand and increase in cost of production. We have sought reduction in industrial electricity rates. But we are not complaining if the government has decided to keep the rates unchanged."
Some industrialists threatened to hit the streets if the tariffs were increased. Jaswinder Thukral, president of Janta Nagar Small Scale Industries' Association, said, "We will protest if the tarrifs are increased, as the rates here are already very high. We made our stand clear during PSERC meeting at Ludhiana."
Narinder Bhamra, president of Fasteners' Manufacturers' Association, said, "It will be wise not to hike the rates, as any increase will infuriate the consumers."
PSERC chairman D S Bains, however, said it was too premature to say anything. "We will consider industrialists' demands. But at the same time it is important to ensure that Powercom does not face financial crisis. We will make it easy for people to apply for connections and ensure optimum utilisation of surplus power." On night rebate, he added, "It is on our priority list, but we are yet to study its implications.We look forward to better power usage at night to check shortage in daytime and paddy season."