Haryana government's pre-poll announcement of rollback in electricity tariff may give some relief to consumers, especially the agriculture sector. However, this will cost the state Rs 6,500 crore per year, according to the calculations by the electricity distribution companies (discoms).
Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on 16-01-2014 announced that the power consumers across the state would be billed according to the tariff order of 2012-13, reducing the burden on an average consumer who uses up to 300 units bimonthly by Rs 1.30 per unit.
The chief minister also lured the agriculture sector by bringing down the rates. Now a consumer of agriculture sector will have to pay 10 paise per unit against the existing rate of 25 paise for a tube-well connection. This will benefit around 5.50 lakh farmers in the state. "Inflation is a major issue which made us to take this decision. The government will bear the burden of Rs 600 crore revenue loss to electricity distribution companies on account of the new tariff," Hooda had said.
The decision to rollback power tariff has come at a time when discoms are reeling under huge losses pegged over Rs 18,000 crore. Last year, the state government had given a bailout package by sharing half the debts and losses.
According to the officials of both state discoms - Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) and Uttar Haryana Bijlli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) - prior to the CM's announcement they had a loss of Rs 5,200 crore on account of subsidy to 5.65 lakh power consumers of agriculture sector. They said each farmer with an agriculture pumpset power connection was getting a subsidy of Rs 90,000 to Rs 1 lakh. "Besides this, the government is also bearing the fuel surcharge adjustment (FSA) component, which has to be charged from a power consumer," said an UHBVN official.
"Discoms are largely concerned with covering up of loss. Since the state government has agreed to provide them from the exchequer, hence we are comfortable with it. We are concerned with money," Haryana's power secretary Devender Singh said on Friday.