Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited (UPCL) is all set to hike electricity rates from the next financial year if the Uttarakhand Electricity Regulatory Commission (UERC) approves its proposal in April. The UPCL has proposed a 24 per cent hike in power rates for strengthening the distribution system in the state. However, UERC officials say the power tariffs for domestic, commercial and other consumers may not be hiked for the next financial year. If the power tariffs are hiked, it will be done judiciously.
Industry consumers demand that the UPCL should take effective steps to curtail aggregate technical and commercial losses across the state. They say the industrial sector losses are not more than five per cent though it shares more than 50 per cent of the load in the state. Roorkee and Haridwar cities top in terms of power theft and transmission lines should be replaced with aerial bunch cables soon in the affected areas of the state.
The gathering stressed on a timely audit of electricity divisions responsible for transmission losses. Industrialists say the UPCL should inform them at least 48 hours before scheduled power cuts to save them losses. They demand reduced morning peak hour cuts and lower electricity consumption rates. They say Power Transmission Corporation of Uttarakhand Limited should complete the work of laying high tension transmission lines in the time frame.
UERC secretary Neeraj Sati says two public hearings each in Garhwal and Kumaon divisions were held before proposing the power tariff hike. The power tariff may or may not be hiked for the next financial year. Sati says the UPCL has been instructed to strengthen the electricity distribution system. Domestic and farming consumers expressed their views in the second half of the public hearings. They said streetlights should be metered across the state. Consumers demanded a better coordination among the UPCL, municipal corporations and nodal agencies to ensure obsolete streetlights were repaired or replaced in time. The UPCL should avoid prolonged scheduled power cuts in the rural areas.