Govt conveniently forgets assurance of not raising power rates

BHOPAL: The state government, prior to state Assembly elections, had assured that no further hike in power tariffs would be effected and had, in fact, directed reduction in the power tariff by up to five per cent. But the government is unlikely to keep its word.

A hike in power tariffs is on the cards, which would put a heavy burden on the power consumers.  Last year, power tariff had been raised only marginally, mainly due to Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. Electricity Regulatory Commission was soft towards the power consumers, especially farmers and domestic users.

It is almost certain that power tariff would be raised so as to boost recovery and improve the financial condition of electricity distribution companies, who are on the verge of bankruptcy. Electricity Regulatory Commission is holding public hearings across the state regarding power tariff. The hearings would conclude on May 12 and it is expected that the new power tariff would be announced by May 20.

Commission’s secretary Shailendra Saxena said proposals from the three electricity distribution companies had been received and public hearing was underway. He said the new power tariff would be declared after lifting of the election model code of conduct. Central Region Electricity Distribution Company chief managing director (CMD), Nitish Vyas maintains that this year, there has been a decline in the recovery of bills, in comparison to past years. He said the Company has given a proposal to the Commission and the latter has to take a decision.

The power tariff has been rising consistently every year, barring the last one. The hike in power tariff would give a big jolt to the consumers ‘Kare Koi, Bhare Koi’ In most of the cases, it is the industrialists and farmers who are defaulters, as far as the payment of electricity bills is concerned. Recovery of electricity bills in rural areas was stopped in the wake of elections. The power distribution companies were asked not to mount pressure on hailstorm affected farmers to pay their overdue or current bills. But it is the domestic consumers who will have to bear the brunt.

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