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Power tariff hike to widen BWSSB's losses

The board also has to pay staff salaries and for maintenance, in addition to supplying water under government schemes
Last Updated : 08 November 2020, 11:21 IST
Last Updated : 08 November 2020, 11:21 IST
Last Updated : 08 November 2020, 11:21 IST
Last Updated : 08 November 2020, 11:21 IST

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The latest hike in power tariff has left the loss-making Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board (BWSSB) in a fix. The board, which hasn’t raised the water tariff for the past six years, is set to widen the losses due to a 25-paise per unit hike in power tariff for water supply installations.

A source in the BWSSB revealed to DH that the power tariff hike announced by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) would cause the water board a loss of Rs 10-15 crore every month. According to a senior engineer in the BWSSB, the board pays about Rs 46 crore in electricity bills each month just for pumping water. The monthly bill goes up to about Rs 55 crore when BWSSB offices and other installations are included.

The board also has to pay staff salaries and for maintenance, in addition to supplying water under government schemes. Its only source of revenue is the water tariff.

BWSSB chairman N Jayaram acknowledged the potential effect of the power tariff hike, saying it would hit them proportionately. “It’s an additional burden on us but we will have to pay up until the government clears our proposal to revise the water tariff.”

In order to reduce the losses, the board had submitted three proposals to the state government in February 2020.

Among the three proposals was tariff revision that would cover all its borrowings and maintenance cost, helping clear all its borrowings from financial institutions and helping cover the operation and maintenance charges. Currently, the BWSSB charges Rs 7 per kilolitre for consumption up to 8,000 litres and Rs 11 per kilolitre for consumption between 8,001 litres and 25,000 litres per month. It also charges for borewell and sanitary connections.

Asked about the extent of the possible water tariff hike, Jayaram said no specific percentage had been mentioned in the proposal.

“The BWSSB is only looking at recovering the current maintenance costs under the principle of no loss, no gain,” he said, adding they are yet to hear from the government.

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Published 05 November 2020, 19:47 IST

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