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States » North

UP govt blames Oppn for power sector mess: downplays proposed tariff hike

Lucknow, Jun 18(UNI) The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday downplayed the proposed hike in power tariff in the state and blamed the opposition parties for step motherly treatment to the people in supplying electricity during their regime.

"The BJP government is committed to providing affordable power tariff to the people. The government is supplying uninterrupted power even in the villages and removing all the barriers put up by the previous government," claimed State Power Minister Srikant Sharma.

"The days of blackouts in the entire state except for four districts during the Samajwadi Party rule has ended," he told reporters here while blaming the SP, BSP and the Congress for the poor condition of the state's power sector.

Asked about the proposed hike in the power tariff as sought by the power utility Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL), the Minister clarified that the proposal has been sent to the UP State Electricity Regularity Commission (UPSERC) for their approval.

"You will have to wait and see what the Commission decide and then come up to any conclusion," he suggested the media.
The opposition leaders, including BSP president Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh Yadav, have criticised the Yogi Aditynath government for the proposed hike in the power tariff and demanded its withdrawal immediately.

UPPCL on Friday last had proposed hiking electricity tariffs by more than 25 per cent for domestic consumers.
Against the prevailing power tariff of Rs 4.90 per unit for the first 150 units of monthly consumption, UPPCL has proposed to increase the slab by more than 26 per cent to Rs 6.20 per unit.

Similarly, the variable slab for power consumption between 151-300 units, 301-500 units and 500 units upwards have been proposed to be increased by 12-20 per cent to Rs 6.50 unit (Rs 5.40 at present), Rs 7 per unit (Rs 6.20) and Rs 7.50 per unit (Rs 6.50) respectively. Additionally, the fixed monthly charge for a domestic connection is also proposed to be upped by 10 per cent.

Besides, the power tariffs for the state commercial sector consumers have also been proposed to be hiked by 10-15 per cent.

The UPPCL has already submitted the proposed new power tariff structure for 2019-20 with the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) for vetting and final approval. Now, the state energy watchdog would conduct public hearing and issue a public notice before taking a call on the new tariff order for the current financial year.

Interestingly, the state power utility had kept power tariffs unchanged for 2018-19 in run up to the Lok Sabha elections and to keep the different category of consumers in good humour. Power tariffs had witnessed a hike in November 2017, when UPERC – while sparing the industrial sector from any increase for 2017-18 – had announced average tariff rise of 12.72 per cent across board. The average power tariff hike was then steepest compared to preceding two years with average hike in 2015-16 and 2016-17 figuring at 5.47 per cent and 3.18 per cent, respectively.

The state energy department has sought to justify the proposed increase in power tariff for the current year over steeper prices of fuel, including coal, and consequently higher cost of power generation.

In its proposal filed with the UPERC, the UPPCL has pegged 2019-20 annual revenue requirement (ARR) at Rs 76,495 crore, while estimating the revenue-expenditure gap at Rs 18,091 crore, thus offering a precursor to its justification of increasing power tariffs in the state for economic viability and sustainability.

UP Power Consumers Council chairman Avadhesh Kumar Verma has alleged the yawning revenue-expenditure gap and the projected loss by the state power utility was majorly owing to gross inefficiency of the UPPCL management, apart from the procurement of expensive power.
''The Council will not allow such steep hike in power tariffs for domestic consumers. We will soon chalk our next course of action to oppose this unjustified proposal,'' he said, adding that his organisation will take to streets to protest if the proposed higher tariffs were approved by the UPERC.
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