Power tariff up by average 48 p/unit

Power tariff up by average 48 p/unit

Power bills will go up by an average of 8%, or 48 paise a unit, from this month. The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) on Tuesday approved the highest tariff hike in the last five years. The average increase is 48 paise a unit, as against the Rs 1.48 sought by power supply companies.

In 2016, the average hike was 30 paise a unit. This year, the hike is between 15 paise (rural areas) and 50 paise (commercial) a unit.  M K Shankaralinge Gowda, KERC Chairman, dismissed the claim that the steep hike was meant to preempt any hike next year, when Assembly elections are due.

He told reporters the KERC had taken into account losses incurred by the power companies and the purchase price increase caused by drought. “As against a demand of 25%, 8% hike has been introduced,’’ he said.

Recovery gap

The increase will help the Escoms overcome their recovery gap of Rs 2,296 crore for fiscal 2016, amounting to 42 paise a unit.

An additional 6 paise goes towards the cost of fuel at thermal power plants. “A thorough GPS survey of all defunct IP sets in the state is being done. So far only Bescom has completed it,” he said.

He said the survey would be completed by June, and help determine how much power is consumed or wasted. “We believe around five lakh sets are defunct,” he said. According to Bescom, of the 10.29 lakh irrigation pump sets, 1.20 lakh are dry.

Thermal power

Gowda said hydro power contributes 15% of the total power generation of about 8,000 MU. Karnataka should concentrate on thermal power and not depend too much on hydro power, he suggested.

Tamil Nadu generates 300 MU, and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana together 300 MU. Karnataka generates just 210 to 220 MU, he said.

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