Domestic consumers, commercial users, farmers and industrialists on Thursday opposed the Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Limited’s plan to hike the electricity tariff rate during a public hearing before Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC).
The holding company had on November 14 last year filed a tariff petition with the BERC, seeking increase of electricity tariff for the 2013-14 financial year.
The proposed hike ranges from 60 to 85 per cent in various slabs of different category of consumers.
Commission chairperson U.N. Panjiar and member S.C. Jha, on the first day of the two-day hearing, heard the objections and suggestions from common men, businessmen, traders, industrialists and other stakeholders.
The consumers said they should not be made “victim of the inefficiency of the board”, whose transmission and distribution loss (T&D) has reached up to 42 per cent. “The board’s failure to stop power theft and ensure 100 per cent billing have resulted in the loss,” a consumer said.
Nand Kishore Singh, the convener of Mahangi Bijli Virodhi Sangharsh Manch, a conglomerate of 15 political and social organisations, said the commission should reject the holding company’s proposal to increase the tariff “because the loss to the power company is the result of inefficiency”.
“Power should not be distributed on the basis of profit and loss. The government should run the sector on the line of health and education,” Singh said.
P.K. Sharma, the president of Vaishali Vidyut Upbhokta Sangh, suggested that the minimum guarantee charge be abolished. Subhash K. Patwari, who was representing Bihar Industries Association, said: “The power company can’t pass on its inefficiency in the form of T&D loss to the industry.”
Sanjay Bhartiya, the director of Dina Iron & Steel Ltd, said: “The proposal for hike in power tariff only shows the whimsical way in which it is functioning.”