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Power tariff hike hearings

- Focus on consumer feedback

Patna, Dec. 3: Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission will hold a series of public hearings across the state from December 20 to finalise the electricity tariff for 2013-14.

Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd had on November 14 filed a tariff petition before the commission. It sought an increase of the electricity tariff for various slabs of consumers by at least 60 per cent for the next financial year. The proposed hike hovers between 60 and 85 per cent.

“The commission announced a schedule to conduct public hearings in different parts of the state. The series of hearing would start in Darbhanga on December 20 and conclude on February 8 in the state capital,” the regulatory commission’s chairman, U.N. Panjiar, told The Telegraph on Monday.

This is the second year when the Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission would conduct such public hearings to look into the consumers’ grievances. Earlier, the public hearings were held at the commission’s headquarters in Patna.

Panjiar said the commission decided to conduct the hearings at “important” district headquarters to receive feedback and suggestions from the consumers.

Asked when the new tariff is expected to be announced, he said: “We want to announce the new tariff on March 15, 2013, so that the revised rate can be smoothly implemented with effect from April 1.”

The regulatory commission, entrusted with the task of fixing electricity tariff for all kinds of consumers, would listen to various stakeholders on the 2013-14 petition of Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd to increase electricity tariff by at least 60 per cent. Domestic consumers, commercial users, farmers, railway officials and members of industry associations and chambers of commerce would attend the hearings, sources in the commission said.

Nine public hearings would be held by the regulatory commission between December 20 and February 8 — Darbhanga (December 20), Muzaffarpur (December 21), Munger (January 4, 2013), Bhagalpur (January 5), Chhapra (January 10), Purnea (January 18), Saharsa (January 19), Gaya (February 1) and Patna (February 7 and 8).

The commission took over the job of fixing electricity tariff in 2006.

It has so far announced electricity tariff from 2006-07 to 2012-13, except 2007-08 and 2009-10 because the then state electricity board had filed its tariff petition late.

Over the past three fiscals, the regulatory commission had allowed a hike of 12.1 per cent in 2011-12 — it was announced on March 30, 2012. Under the 2011-12 tariff order that was announced on June 1, 2011, the commission allowed a hike of 19 per cent.

However, in its tariff of 2010-11 announced on December 5, 2010, the commission had effected a token increase of five paise per unit.