SERC approves average 6.2 % hike in power tariff

PDD flayed for being slow in improving performance
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Apr 16: All categories of the electricity consumers in the State will have to shell out more money as the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) has approved around 6.2 per cent average hike in the existing power tariff. However, this hike is far less than that proposed by the Power Development Department (PDD) in its tariff petition.
Authoritative sources told EXCELSIOR that Power Development Department had proposed an average tariff of Rs 4.10 per kilo watt hour (unit) for the current financial year (2012-13), an increase of about 18.5 per cent of the average existing tariff. However, the SERC re-worked the proposed tariff hike to be 19.44 per cent instead of 18.5 per cent with respect to reworked sales at the existing tariff.
The Commission has approved the energy sales for 2012-13 financial year by considering the average tariff for un-metered consumers same as the average tariff arrived at for the metered consumers within each consumer category and by considering increased sales by virtue of 10 per cent Transmission and Distribution loss reduction target set for PDD from the T&D loss levels of 56.76 per cent in financial year 2011-12, sources said, adding the Commission has approved T&D loss level of 46.76 per cent for the financial year 2012-13.
“The average tariff at existing rates for 2012-13 as determined by the Commission is Rs 3.64 per kilo watt hour and it has allowed an average tariff of Rs 3.86 per kilo watt hour for 2012-13 financial year, which is an increase of around 6.2 per cent in comparison to the average existing tariff”, they said.
For the domestic consumers, power tariff has been hiked to Rs 1.82 per unit as against existing rate of Rs 1.66 per unit. Similarly, for non-domestic/ commercial consumers, the tariff has been hiked to Rs 3.49 per unit as against existing Rs 3.22 per unit. For State/Central Government Departments, power tariff has been hiked to Rs 6.07 per unit as against existing rate of Rs 5.78 per unit. For agriculture consumers, the tariff has been hiked to Rs 1.68 per unit against existing rate of Rs 1.60 per unit.
Against the proposed total revenue demand projected at Rs 2,006.75 crore (at 95 per cent collection efficiency) by the PDD, the Commission has approved total revenue demand at Rs 2,238.58 crore (at 100 per cent collection efficiency) at the approved tariffs (effective from April 1, 2012).
The SERC has approved higher tariff hike for the un-metered consumers within the domestic, non-domestic and agriculture consumer categories in comparison to the metered consumers in the same categories, they said, adding “in order to promote metering in the State, the Commission will continue to allow steeper increase in tariffs for un-metered electricity consumers till PDD completes its metering process”.
While reviewing the performance of the PDD, the Commission observed that despite various directions, the Department has been slow to improve its performance in various aspects primarily due to lack of adequate planning.
The Commission said: The Department needs to ‘Plan to Execute’ especially in the areas of consumer indexing, feeder metering, distribution transformers metering, energy auditing of feeders and DT, deployment of IT tools for loss measurement and analysis, metering of un-metered consumers, HT meter replacement and cubicle installation, LT CT meter and service line replacement, re-conductoring of feeders, transformer augmentation in case of overloaded transformers, reduction in HT:LT ration to the level of 1:1, deployment of High Voltage Distribution System (HVDS) in areas with losses above 25 per cent, capacitor installations on HT and LT industries, reduction in transformers failure, spot billing especially in urban areas, disconnection of defaulters, anti-theft enforcement drives and data recording and reporting procedure.
“Considering the current level of power losses, there is a dire need to address the problem and tackle it in a time-bound manner and drastically reduce the loss level-at least by 10 per cent of the existing levels every year till the losses are brought down below 15 per cent”, the Commission said, adding “this can be achieved by various interventions such as HVDS, SCADA and Database Management, Energy Audit and 3rd party verification of technical and financial data, incentive and disincentive scheme linked to performance on loss reduction”.