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New power tariff by month end

- Early order for April rollout

Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) is set to announce its new electricity tariff order on February 28 for the financial year 2014-15 which would be made applicable from April 1.

“The new tariff order for 2014-15 is almost ready. The commission is giving final touches to the order. We will announce the tariff order on February 28,” a senior official of the commission, wishing anonymity, said.

The commission had announced the tariff order for the current year (2013-14) on March 15 (2013) while the order for 2012-13 was announced on March 30 (March 2012).

The officer said the panel’s decision to announce the tariff order well in advance would give much time to the distribution companies for smooth implementation of the order.

The commission held 12 public hearings in nine cities of the state.

The nine towns/cities where the commission held public hearings are — Bhagalpur (December 20, 2013), Munger (December 21), Saharsa (January 8, 2014) Purnea (January 9), Patna (January 10 and 11), Darbhanga (January 21), Muzaffarpur (January 22), Chhapra (February 5), Gaya (February 7) and again in Patna (February 12 and 13).

BERC, the body entrusted with the job of fixing electricity tariff rate for all kinds of consumers, listened to various stakeholders that included domestic consumers, commercial users, farmers, industries on the power distribution companies’ tariff petition for 2014-15 seeking an increase of 43 to 55 per cent in electricity tariff rate in different categories.

About the quantum of the tariff hike, the senior officer said: “We would keep in mind the requirement of distribution companies and the interest of the consumers while preparing the tariff order.”

Going by the experience, the commission has made moderate hike in the past four-five years. The commission has allowed the hike of even 5 paise per unit (in 2010-11) to a maximum of 19 per cent (in 2011-12). Even in the current year, the commission allowed a hike of just 6.9 per cent against the power companies’ proposal of 58.6 per cent.