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Power bill burden respite for users

People would not have to pay extra for power in the next financial year.

Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (Berc) on Friday decided against altering the power tariff for all types of consumers for the next fiscal (2014-15). The panel passed the common order on two separate tariff petitions filed by both the distribution companies — North and South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (NBPDCL and SBPDCL) — seeking an upward revision of electricity tariff rate by 43 to 55 per cent for various categories.

The commission’s order came as a relief to 44 lakh power consumers of the state. People from all walks of life have welcomed the decision.

“At a time when prices of everything is increasing, it is good to hear that power tariff has been left unchanged. It has come as a big relief for us. We shall be able to use electronic appliances like AC, microwave and induction oven as usual. Had the tariff been increased, it would have put additional burden on our budget,” said Shalini Narayan, a resident of West Boring Canal Road.

Last year, the commission had increased the power tariff by 6.9 per cent against the Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Limited (BSPHCL)’s proposal for 58.4 per cent rate hike.

Giving reason for no change in power tariff, the two-member commission’s chairman U.N. Panjiar and member S.C. Jha said the distribution companies’ steps to strengthen the distribution network would help them reduce their losses. “Considering the modest combined revenue gap of NBPDCL and SBPDCL and effective steps taken for strengthening of distribution network, appointment of franchisees in major towns, cent per cent metering, improved meter reading, billing, bill delivery and collection, it should be possible for them to meet the revenue gap,” Panjiar said.

Berc, the body entrusted with the job of fixing electricity tariff rate for all kinds of consumers, made certain user-friendly changes in terms and conditions of power consumption. It abolished the monthly minimum charge (MMC) for urban domestic consumers, withdrew its earlier order of levying additional 10 per cent premium charge for close to 24-hour power supply in a particular town and permitted demand-based tariff for single-phase urban domestic consumers. (See graphic)

Business bodies welcomed the panel’s decision to not to revise the power tariff. Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industries (BCCI) president P.K. Agrawal said: “The chamber welcomes the Berc’s decision to not to hike the power tariff.”

Echoing him, BCCI vice-president S.K. Patwari, said: “We welcome the commission’s order to abolish MMC for urban domestic consumers.”

Bihar Industries Association (BIA) president Arun Agarwal demanded the abolition of MMC for all consumers, while BIA general secretary Sanjay Bhartiya hailed the panel’s decision to withdraw 10 per cent premium tariff for providing 24-hour power supply.


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