Traders, civil society to move SERC against proposed power tariff hike

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Srinagar: As the government has filed a petition before State electricity Regulatory Commission on hiking of power tariff in the state, the traders and civil society activists have decided to oppose the move by filing objections to the petition on the scheduled day of hearing, and will take to streets.

The government has proposed substantial hike in power tariff for the year 2016-17 by submitting a petition to the Jammu and Kashmir State Electricity Regulatory Commission (JKSERC) for Annual Revenue Requirement for the 2nd Multi Year Tariff (MYT) Control Period FY 2016-17 to FY 2020-21.

The Power Development Department wants to fill the loss of revenue gap which is worth crores every financial year. The SERC is scheduled to hear the petition on March 26.

Former SERC member and member of Kashmir Centre for Development and Social Studies (KCDS), Shakeel Qalandar told KNS that the civil society will oppose the mover by filing objections to the proposed petition by Power Development Department to increase power tariff hike in the state.

“PDD has not taken a good step by submitting a petition on hiking power tariff for consumers. People of the state are yet to come out of the devastation of 2014 flood, and the government is thrusting one more huge burden on them. It is not justified,” Qalandar told KNS.

“It reflects the insensitivity of the government and PDD toward the people. The imported bureaucracy in the Civil Secretariat has no connection with the people and takes such arbitrary decisions,” he said.

Kashmir Economic Alliance Chairman Showkat Choudhray told KNS that the move is “anti-people” and the trade body besides filing objections to the petition will launch an agitation if the SERC passes the judgment in favour of the government.

“We will also appeal people not to pay power bills to the PDD if such a decision to hike power tariff is taken,” Choudhary said..

Kashmir Manufacturers and Traders Federation Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Khan told KNS that they will also take to streets if SERC passes decision favouring PDD.

“It is not understandable as to what government is upto. On the one hand it is proving flood relief to people, and on the other taking decisions that will badly impact their living,” Khan said.

“People are yet to come out of the flood shock, the government is thrusting increased power bills on them. We will take to streets against the decision,” he said.

As per the proposed tariff structure for FY 2016-17, the PDD wants to increase energy charges per kWH to Rs 1.35 from the existing tariff of Rs 1.19 for Below Poverty Line category of consumers having consumption up to 30 units per month.

At present, power consumption up to 100 units per month is charged at Rs 1.54 per unit and between 101 units to 200 units per month, the rate is Rs 2 per unit while as between 201 to 400 units per month the rate is Rs 3 per unit. For consumption beyond Rs 400 per month, the rate is Rs 3.2 per unit.

However, the PDD has proposed Rs 2.27 per unit up to 200 units per month by deleting the slab of up to 100 units per month. For units between 201 and 400 per month, it has proposed Rs 3.41 per unit while as for consumption between 400 and 800 units the proposed rate is Rs 3.64 per unit. The PDD has also created new slab—over 800 units per month, which will be charged at Rs 4.20 per unit.

For unmetered consumers, the consumption up to ½ KW would be charged Rs 335 per month as against present rate of Rs 89 up to ¼ KW and Rs 295 between ¼ to ½ KW.

The PDD has proposed Rs 664 per month for consumption between ½ to 1 KW as against Rs 445 per month for consumption between ½ to ¾ KW and Rs 585 for ¾-1 KW per month.

As far as non-domestic/commercial metered category of consumers (single phase), till date the PDD is charging Rs 2.55 per unit up to 100 units per month, Rs 2.70 per unit for consumption between 101 and 200 units, Rs 3.9 per unit for consumption between 201 and 300 units per month and for consumption beyond 300 units per month the department is charging Rs 4.2 per unit.

The department has now proposed Rs 2.9 per unit up to 100 units per month, Rs 4.44 per unit for consumption between 101 and 300 units per month and Rs 4.78 per unit for consumption beyond 300 units per month. It has deleted the slab of 101 to 200 units per month.

For three phase connections, the present tariff is Rs 4.55 for all units but the department has proposed to increase the same to Rs 5.12. The fixed charges for single phase have been proposed at Rs 48 as against Rs 40 at present. Similarly, the fixed charges for three phase have been proposed at Rs 114 as against present tariff of Rs 95.

For unmetered commercial connections are concerned, the department has proposed Rs 2192 for above one KW as against existing tariff of Rs 1925 for above one KW.

For the agriculture category consumers, the PDD has proposed Rs 5.42 per kVAH as against existing tariff of Rs 4.75 for above 20 HP. However, in the case of State and Central Government Departments, no hike has been proposed in the tariff despite the fact that several Government departments are the major defaulters of the Power Development Department.

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