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Power tariff hike barely a poll away
- Model code of conduct comes in way

Bhubaneswar, April 2: Power tariff hike is imminent in the state. The Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has taken a decision to this effect, but the announcement is not being made in view of the model code of conduct, official sources told The Telegraph.

Sources said: “The tariff will be increased by 10 to 15 paise per unit.”

At present, the power tariff in the state is Rs 2.40 for the first 50 units and Rs 4 for the subsequent 150 units. The tariff for 200 to 400 units is Rs 5, and above 400 units it is Rs 5.40 per unit.

The Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC), Grid Corporation of Odisha (Gridco), Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL) and the four power distribution companies — Wesco, Cesu, Nesco and Southco had approached the OERC to increase the tariff.

The OHPC had pleaded with the OERC to sell power to distributors at Rs 1.20 paise per unit for 2014-15 against the existing 74 paise per unit. Gridco, which in turn supplies power to the distribution companies, had said that it should be allowed to raise another Rs 2,252 crore from its consumers in 2014-15.

“We are purchasing power at a higher price from the power generation companies, and if we are not allowed to sell power at a higher cost to the distribution companies, it will be difficult for us to survive,” said a Gridco official.

“The Gridco spends Rs 10,021 crore in buying power. But, it collects Rs 7,995 crore. The shortfall has to be paid by our consumers. There is no other way left for us than to demand a hike in the sale of power to the distribution companies,” said the official.

The Central Electricity Supply Utility (Cesu) has also suggested an overall tariff of around 10 per cent on the existing tariff to make up the shortfall.

Sources said the OERC, a quasi-udicial body, had heard the arguments from all sides and favoured a hike. Aware of that any announcement at this juncture could become a poll issue and cause embarrassment to the government, it has decided to make the announcement soon after the elections. The election will be over on April 17.


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