• Punjab electricity utility proposes 20 per cent hike in power tariff

    Electricity consumers in the state are likely to feel the pinch as the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has proposed a steep hike in tariff to shore up its revenues and improve its financial health. The power corporation has not raised power tariff in the past two years.

    The corporation has filed a petition seeking 20% hike in power tariff, but a final decision would be taken by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) after consulting the newly-formed state government.

    The new tariff may be announced in the next 10 days, said sources. They said PSPCL earnings took a dip as there was no hike in electricity rates in the past two years. Sources said that in its multi-year tariff petition (MYTP) for 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 filed before the PSERC, the PSPCL had sought a 20% tariff hike 2017-18, citing a total revenue deficit of Rs 11,575 crore, including Rs 5,998 crore carried forward from the previous years.

    In the multi-year tariff petition the PSPCL had shown a deficit of Rs 6,130 crore for 2018-2019 and Rs 6,406 crore for 2019-20.

    Last year, the PSPCL has sought a tariff hike of 19.72% to bridge the revenue gap. The corporation had estimated the revenue receipt of Rs 26,121 crore against the estimated expenditure of Rs 31,262 crores.

    However, the PSERC refused to change tariffs but reduced it for the industry.

    PSERC chairman Dhanbir Singh Bains while confirming the development said that the matter pertaining to tariff hike was under consideration and a final decision would be taken in consultation with the new government.

    “Once we are clear on the subsidies, we will take the final call,” he maintained. The new tariff was likely to be announced in the next 10 days, the chairman further added.

    Meanwhile, it is learnt that the present power subsidy bill of the state government has crossed Rs 6,463 crore, of which Rs 5,000 crore is farm subsidy and the rest is being given to other categories of consumers, including industry, dairies and weaker sections of society.

    At present, the state government has to make a payment of Rs 2,000 crore against the subsidy bill before March 31, failing which it will have to pay bank interest on the outstanding amount remaining. Spencer Long Womens Jersey

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