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Power in Punjab to cost more, opposition slams the move

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CHANDIGARH: Electricity rates are set to go up in Punjab with the power regulator PSERC announcing an increase in power tariff by 25 to 80 paise per unit for different categories of consumers.

Opposition parties Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal slammed the move, saying it was the AAP government’s “first gift” to people two days after it won the Jalandhar Lok Sabha bypoll.

Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission Monday announced a new tariff order for 2023-24. The new tariff order will be applicable with effect from May 16.

Shortly after the PSERC decision, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said that the revised tariff would not impact the common man as the increase would be borne by the government for free power to domestic category consumers and farmers.

As domestic consumers get 300 units per month of free electricity, any increase in charges will be borne by the state government.

Meanwhile, electricity consumers consuming over 300 units per month will have to bear the burden on account of an increase in power tariff.

In the new tariff order, the rates for domestic consumers having load up to 2 Kilo Watt with 0-100 units slab has been increased from Rs 3.49 paise a unit to Rs 4.19 paise a unit. For 101-300 units, the new rate will be Rs 6.64 per unit and for more than 300 units, the rate has been increased from Rs 7.30 per unit to Rs 7.75 per unit.

For those having a load between 2 KW to 7 KW, the new rates for up to 100 units consumption will be Rs 4.44 per unit, for 101 to 300 units, the new rate will be Rs 6.64 and for more than 300 units, the revised rate will be Rs 7.75 a unit.

For domestic consumers having a load more than 7 KW, the new rates will be Rs 5.34, Rs 7.15 and Rs 7.75 for up to 100 units, 101 to 300 units and above 300 units consumption slabs respectively.

The fixed charges have also been increased by Rs 15 per KW for domestic consumers, as per the order.

In case of non-residential supply category, the electricity rates have been increased in the range of 28 paise to 46 paise a unit. The fixed charges rose by Rs 30 to Rs 40 per KW.

For industry category, the new rate for units having up to 20 KVA load has been revised to 5.67 per unit while from 20 KVA to 100 KVA load, the rate has been increased to Rs 6.10 per unit.

Similarly, from 100 KVA to 2,500 KVA load, the electricity charges have been increased.

The tariff for the farm sector (Agriculture pumpset) has been raised from Rs 5.66 per unit to Rs 6.55 per unit. Notably, farmers get free power supply in Punjab.

The PSERC has attributed the tariff hike to factors including “blending of more expensive imported coal with Indian coal both state and central sector thermal power stations due to shortage of coal in the supply chain, substantial increase in rate of short-term power purchased through traders/exchange due to rising demand, unexpected surge in energy demand of the state during FY 2022-23 due to environmental reasons..normal inflationary increase in input costs etc”.

The PSERC has determined the additional revene requirement of Rs 3,584.42 crore resulting in increase of 56 paise/unit over the average cost of supply of FY 2022-23.

Meanwhile, opposition parties hit out at the Mann government over revised power tariff.

“Reward? Revenge? or Repayment? AAP govt repays Pbis within 48 hours for its Jalandhar by poll win with a back breaking power tariff hike. 300 units free power scheme effectively dismantled as @BhagwantMann led @PunjabGovtIndia is in no position to repay PSPCL for this facility,” SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said in a tweet.

Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said, “it is AAP government’s first gift to the people of Punjab after winning the Jalandhar elections”. (PTI)

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