Punjab raises power tariff, will hold rate for industry at Rs5/unit
Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister captain Amarinder Singh said Monday that his government will provide power at Rs5 per unit to the industry, as approved by the state cabinet, notwithstanding a two-part tariff announced Monday by the state electricity regulatory commission.
The chief minister directed the power secretary and the chairman of Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) to examine the implications of the two-part tariff and issue an advisory to the concerned department to freeze industrial power tariff at Rs5 per unit from 1 November, as approved by the state cabinet.
He reiterated his commitment to provide tariff for the industry at Rs5 per unit for five years under the “Industrial and Business Development Policy 2017” notified on 17 October, and said his government will work to ensure that it meets its promise in this regard, according to an official.
While it was the prerogative of the commission to fix power tariff in all categories under the provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003, the government will ensure that it meets its commitment to power users, the chief minister said in the wake of the notification of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) tariff order for the year 2017-18, the official added.
He promised that his government would provide the necessary subsidy to PSPCL accordingly, to meet its commitments for providing free/affordable power to various categories of consumers including agriculture, industry, scheduled castes, backward classes and below poverty-line domestic consumers.
The government will ensure that power is provided to small consumers on par with the existing tariff of Rs4.99 per unit, a move that will benefit 85,000 small industrial consumers, while keeping the overall tariff to Rs5 per unit in the new scenario of a two-part tariff, for industrial consumers in the medium and large category, said Singh.
Reiterating his government’s commitment to provide quality power on ‘24x7’ basis to all the domestic, commercial and industrial consumers in the state, he said free power to agriculture consumers would continue, as would up to 200 units per month to Scheduled Caste (SC), Backward Class (BC) and Non-SC BPL domestic consumers, and up to 300 units per month to Freedom Fighter Domestic Consumers.
On the hike announced by PSERC in domestic tariff, the chief minister said the nominal increase was necessitated by the increasing cost of power generation and distribution and pointed out that the domestic power tariff had been static for the past three years.
He further noted that despite the hike, the domestic power rate in Punjab continues to be lower than all neighbouring states, except Himachal Pradesh. Meanwhile, the opposition BJP flayed the captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government for allegedly “betraying” people of the state by announcing a power tariff hike which it termed as “huge” and “unbearable”.
BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh Monday said the power hike decision which comes just a week after Gurdaspur bye-poll result would hit domestic consumers, traders and industrialists hard as they would have to shell out 7 to 12% more in the form of tariff hike.
“Congress made lofty promises to the people but has miserably failed to keep them. It promised to waive entire loan of farmers, employment to one person in a family, unemployment allowance of Rs2,500, smartphones to every youth,” Chugh said adding that instead of delivering on the promises, the government has “burdened” people with 12% hike in power tariff.