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Power tariff hike plan sparks protest

Cuttack, Jan. 23: The possibility of a hike in retail power tariff has evoked objections from the Odisha Consumers’ Association (OCA), the Federation of Consumer Organisations of Odisha (FCOO) and the Keonjhar Navanirman Parishad (KNP).

The apprehensions about hike have followed the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC)’s notice inviting objections to applications for tariff and revenue requirement for 2013-14 by the power distribution companies.

The Central Electricity Supply Utility, the Southern Electricity Supply Company of Odisha, the Western Electricity Supply Company of Odisha and North Eastern Electricity Supply Company of Odisha have filed applications before the OERC.

In a petition, the OCA, the FCOO and the KNP have alleged before the OERC that the applications for power tariff hike are uncalled for as the power distribution companies or licensees are “artificially projecting their annual revenue requirements without reducing transmission and distribution loss and power thefts by industries”.

The licensees have not improved efficiency, standard of service and performance as directed from time to time by the OERC to comply with tariff orders for 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13, the petition alleged, adding: “Mostly the rural consumers are suffering from undeclared load shedding for over 12 to 14 hours daily.”

The power distribution companies or licensees have sought increase in retail tariff to cover up the revenue gap.

“But the licensees have not given the details of the gap between revenue collection and the bill so raised for the last five years to the commission deliberately to cover up their negligence and inaction,” OCA assistant secretary Arun Kumar Sahu said in the objection petition, opposing passing on the burden to the consumers by way of tariff hike.

The OERC had allowed power tariff hike in 2012-13. While consumption of first 50 units were charged at Rs 2.20 per unit, the next slab of 50 to 200 units were charged at Rs 3.90. For 200-400 units, a consumer had to pay at the rate of Rs 4.90 per unit whereas for 400 units and above was charged at Rs 5.30 per unit.