The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has approved a proposal which would revise power tariff in the state.
This is the second price hike after the power tariff was raised by five paise per unit three months earlier.
A consumer using 100 units per month will now have to shell out an additional Rs 19 to Rs 31 for a period of six months depending on the supplying company
Consumers in Bescom limits for the fourth quarter will have to pay an adjustment of 31p per unit, in Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (Mescom) limits 21p/unit,
Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) 19p, Hubli Electricity Supply Company (Hescom) 27p and Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company (Gescom) 26p/unit.
Escom refers to electricity supplying companies.
The hike will be in effect till December 2022.
Opposition leaders have criticized the government for this. Congress leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah accused the BJP of “trying to rip off the common man.”
He said that the hike is coming at a time when ordinary people have to face the brunt of inflation and fuel price hike.
As it is, power tariffs were hiked in April and it hasn’t even been three months since.
He urged the government to roll back the hike soon.
Senior Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy made the same request. He accused BJP of protecting the interests of the rich and not the poor.
He said that the state “received excellent rain” and that “all the reservoirs are full”. “The government itself is saying that there is surplus power, yet there is a price hike.”
A senior energy department official said that revisions and adjustments in bills is a “normal quarterly affair”.
But the consumers do not realize it because it was marginal. However, now with the price hike and due to political reasons it is being criticized.
“No other option”
He explained that the hike has been imposed due to a rise in coal procurement costs and other power purchase costs.
Hence, there is “no other option” but to pass it on to consumers.
Further, with regards to the hike in Bescom tariffs, an official said that it had to be raised due to coal shortage and “the crisis suffered over the last one year”.
“This will be a uniform hike for all categories of consumers”. Thus far, this is the biggest tariff hike linked to fuel cost adjustment.
Asked about the steep hike, KERC Chairman P Ravi Kumar said the recovery of cost was important considering the losses suffered by the escoms.
“It’s a temporary hike which is tied to the steep increase in coal prices. Once the recovery is complete, the tariff will be rolled back (to the present status),” he said.
Officials also said that the increase appears to be high due to the KERC’s decision to effect tariff hikes once in six months instead of every quarter.
“If it was divided between two quarters, it would not have seemed like a big amount,” an official said.