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Power bill tweak in subsidy shake-up

Calcutta, March 30: Power tariff will go up for domestic consumers, including those below the poverty line, of the West Bengal State Electricity Board from April 1.

However, industrial consumers will pay less under the new tariff regime announced by the regulatory authority today.

The move suggests that cross-subsidy ' where one set of consumers pays more to offset the concessional rates offered to another section ' is gradually being phased out.

The monthly bill for an average household is expected to go up by around Rs 12 and for those below the poverty line by Rs 5. Commercial establishments will also have to pay more.

The rate hike will affect 40 lakh domestic consumers of the WBSEB but the tariff order holds out hope of a cut for CESC subscribers.

According to the new directive, CESC will be able to buy power from the board at a cheaper rate ' Rs 2.53 instead of Rs 2.69 a unit. If the cut is reflected in the CESC tariff expected to be announced this week, its consumers stand to gain.

For the domestic consumers of WBSEB, the average tariff will increase by 6 paise per unit from Rs 3.20 to Rs 3.26.

The tariff for Lokdeep ' below poverty line ' consumers, who pay a fixed charge per month, has been raised to Rs 28 from Rs 23.

The tariff for domestic urban consumers in the WBSEB area has increased to Rs 2.16 per unit from Rs 2.12 per unit for the first 75 units. For the next 75 units, the tariff has increased to Rs 2.43 per unit from Rs 2.37 per unit. For those who consume above 1,500 units, the hike has been Rs 1.48 per unit to Rs 5.77 per unit.

Rural consumers will also feel the heat as the rate for unmetered shallow tubewells used for irrigation has been jacked up to Rs 8,950 from Rs 5,460 a year.

The cost of funerals could go up as the tariff for crematoria has been stepped up to Rs 3.27 per unit from Rs 2.32.

However, the tariff has been cut across the board for industrial consumers. Those who consume between 2,000 and 3,500 units will benefit the most as the rate will go down by 35 paise per unit for rural industrial consumers and 25 paise per unit for the urban segment.

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