Outcry over bid to hike power tariff

Assam proposal opposed
Guwahati, May 13: Residents and industries have opposed the power tariff hike proposed by the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) at a public hearing organised by the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission at the Assam Administrative Staff College here today.
The power distribution company had proposed a hike of 17.86 paise per unit to meet an increase in fuel and power purchase costs.
The hearing comes in the wake of a petition filed by the company with the regulatory commission on December 22 last year, requesting a fuel price adjustment, with additional power purchase costs for APDCL and Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd for the fiscal 2008-09.
The regulatory commission’s chairman, J. Barkakati, chaired the hearing.
The Assam Branch of the Indian Tea Association (Abita) challenged the admissibility of the petition.
“It is not understood under what provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003, the power purchase adjustment could be carried out in the middle of the year. If this process continues it will virtually lead to a revision of tariff in the middle of the year, generally not permitted under the act,” said K.P. Ray, the technical consultant on electrical matters to Abita.
The chief co-ordinator of Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Ajay Hazarika, urged the commission not to allow any hike in power tariff.
He said the consumers should not be made to pay for the APDCL’s inefficiency.
The company said it was facing severe financial constraints in procuring power from sources at considerable additional costs.
In order to meet this deficit, it has asked the commission for the hike.
Consultant engineer J.N. Khataniar said the petition was not maintainable, as the difference between fuel prices and total costs was not provided.
“The petitioner should have shown the per unit cost of each power stations for 2008-09 with respect to the previous years and the reasons for variations,” he said.
The representatives of the North Eastern Small Scale Industries Association said the APDCL should minimise its transmission and distribution loss, which is about 30 per cent, and increase its collection efficiency so that the burden of its inefficiency does not pass on to the consumers.