The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Post-poll good news: no shock yet

Calcutta, May 8: Consumers bracing for the customary big bite after elections are over have something to cheer about, though in a small measure.

Power tariffs in Bengal have been lowered marginally for domestic users.

The bulk of the relief will go to commercial and industrial users, which should help them rein in costs. Metro Rail and Calcutta Tramways will also be big beneficiaries.

Though the cut for domestic users is not much, it should come as a relief because the regulatory authority was widely expected to increase the rates after a court order lifted a procedural hurdle. The power suppliers had sought a tariff hike.

The tariff revision order issued today for 2006-07 reduces rates by about 6 to 8 paise per unit on an average if all categories of users are taken into account.

Most domestic users stand to gain as the benefit for each slab will be available to all. For those using above 500 units, there is a flat rate.

High-tension industrial users in the CESC area will enjoy a reduction of 16 paise a unit. In the WBSEB segment, too, industrial users will gain the most from the new tariff structure.

The West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission would have come out with the revision earlier but for a court case revolving around an order that said all consumers should be consulted before changing rates.

Calcutta High Court stayed the order, paving the way for the announcement today after the final phase of the Assembly polls.

With the polls over, not all decisions are likely to be so benevolent. The Centre is expected to convene a meeting soon to decide whether fuel prices should be raised, though global oil rates eased today.

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