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- Berc to hold public hearings from December 20 to finalise tariff

Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (Berc) will hold a series of public hearings in different parts of the state from December 20 to finalise the electricity tariff rate for 2014-15.

Twelve public hearings will be held in nine cities, including the capital. The seven-week-long exercise would conclude with a two-day hearing in Patna on February 12 and 13 after which the commission is likely to pronounce its tariff order by March 15. This way it can be implemented from next financial year.

Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd filed a tariff petition before the commission on November 18. It sought a 43-55 per cent hike in electricity tariff under different categories for 2014-15. The hike sought under domestic category is 23-128 per cent. “The commission has announced a schedule for public hearings in various parts of the state. The exercise would begin in Bhagalpur on December 20 and conclude in Patna on February 13,” commission chairman U.N. Panjiar said.

When pointed out that hearings were being held twice and on two days in Patna, Panjiar said they would hear Bihar State Power Generation Company Ltd and Bihar State Power Transmission Company’s views on January 10 and Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd’s views in support of tariff hike on January 11. Views of various stakeholders such as all types of power consumers, businessmen, traders, industrialists, steel manufacturers and others would be heard on the concluding two days of February 12 and 13.

Asked when the tariff rate would be announced, Panjiar said: “We hope to pronounce the tariff order by March 15, 2014, so that the new tariff rate is implemented with effect from April 1, next year.”

The idea behind the hearing in different important district headquarters is to receive feedback and suggestions from power consumers residing in different parts of the state, Panjiar said.

This is the third year when the commission is conducting public hearings to hear grievances of power consumers, Berc officials said. Earlier, the public hearing used to be held in the commission’s headquarters at Patna.

The commission, which has been fixing electricity tariff rate since 2006-07, has so far announced electricity tariff rates for six financial years — 2006-07, 08-09, 10-11, 11-12, 12-13, 13-14. It could not announce the tariff rates for 2007-08 and 2009-10 as the then state electricity board filed its tariff petition very late.

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