Although the Central Govt. claims to be aiming at bring down power tariffs, clearly the Uttar Pradesh Government’s latest decision to hike power tariffs does not seem to be in line with this. Rather, the revision in power tariffs, soon after the urban local body elections, is going to burn a hole in peoples’ pockets, especially with the start of summer season.
Costly power purchase agreements (PPAs) were the bane of the power sector in UP and one of the reasons behind rising tariffs. In fact, the Yogi Adityanath Government had scrapped several of these agreements after coming to power. Many of these were signed during the previous SP regime that had led to discoms purchasing power at a higher cost; eventually whose burden was passed on to the consumer.
delhincrnews.in made a comparative analysis of the power bills (for urban consumers) that they were paying up to now with the tariffs-in-force from now on.
To start with the fixed charges for urban consumer, previously a consumer paid Rs 90 per KW as fixed charge. So if your current load is 4 KW, every month you were paying Rs 360= 90 X 4 as fixed charge. This fixed charge has now been increased to Rs 100 per KW, that is now a consumer will pay Rs 400= 100 X 4 as fixed charge.
For the number of electricity units consumed, an urban consumer will shell out monthly from now on: for the first 150 units Rs 4.90 per unit, up from Rs 4.40 unit charged earlier; for 151-300 units the tariff is raised to Rs 5.40, up from Rs 4.95 earlier. For 301-500 units the tariff is Rs 6.20, up from Rs 5.60 per unit earlier; and, from 501 units upwards the tariff has been hiked to Rs 6.50 per unit, up from Rs 6.20 earlier.
As most urban consumers use ACs and other appliances the consumption of electricity easily crosses 500 units. In higly urbanized areas of Ghaziabad, Noida, Gr. Noida, Meerut, Lucknow etc people will feel the heat due to this unusual hike in power tariffs by the UP Govt.
Notably, the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission that had announced the tariff order said that this has not been done on suggestions of the power companies who are citing huge losses as a basis for power tariff hike. Even the rural consumers have not been spared and tariff for them has seen a manifold increase, as these were not increased since a long time, said the government.
Incidentally, Uttar Pradesh—like many other states—is also a signatory to UDAY or Ujjawal Discom Assurance Yojana, a Centre’s initiative for power sector reforms in states. Besides, the UP Govt. has said time and again that it is committed to providing power for all in the state, in cooperation with the Centre.
Then recently Uttar Pradesh also announced that was committed to providing at least Rs 50 k crores for solar power in the state. In a sunshine rich country such as India, harnessing solar power should have got the precedence it never got so far, but the technology is still too costly and out of bounds for most people.
However, power seems to be coming at a cost with illegal connections and line losses also playing their part. Uttar Pradesh also sees power thefts in the range of 36-38% of total power supply- that is quite high.
With an all round inflation, a power bill raise was the last thing people wanted. Rather than the hike, the government should reduce power thefts to a minimum and should aim at providing uninterrupted power supply while keeping the prices low.
–Prasoon Pant, Editor
(Next to come: Why power tariffs keep on rising?)