The Telegraph
Monday , February 3 , 2014
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Power companies push for tariff hike

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 2: A power tariff hike is imminent in the state. The power companies have approached the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) to hike the sale price of power.

The OERC has sought opinion from various quarters on the issue.

The Grid Corporation of Odisha (Gridco), the distributor of power in the state, and Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC), which generates power, are in favour of raising price of each unit. They will present their case before the regulatory authority tomorrow. The final decision on tariff will come on March 21.

Last year, the OERC had made an average 2.4 per cent hike in electricity tariff. A consumer is now paying Rs 4.68 for consumption of 600 units. If the OERC agrees to the demand of the power companies, the tariff would be around Rs 7 per unit.

Sources said during the hearing, Gridco would urge the OERC to allow it to sell power to distribution companies at a higher price as its loss had almost touched a whopping Rs 5,000 crore.

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

Various thermal power companies and OHPC said in account of the transmission cost they would sell power to the Gridco at a higher rate and not at the present rate of 74 paise per hydro-power unit and Rs 3.01 per thermal unit.

“If we get power at a higher cost, we will certainly sell it at a higher price,” an official said.

Convenor of the Odisha Bidyut Upbhokta Mahasangha Rabi Behera said: “We are apprehending that the OERC will succumb to the pressures from the companies and go for an upward revision.”

Former chairman of the OERC D.K. Ray told The Telegraph: “OERC is a quasi-judicial body. One should wait till the hearing is completed. It is premature to jump to a conclusion.”

Former finance minister Panchanan Kanungo said, “Government is not presenting its case and arguing for the common consumer though it has stakes in all power companies.”