Virendra Singh Rawat / Lucknow
The Uttar Pradesh power distribution companies (discoms) have proposed to hike tariffs by more than 15 percent in the coming financial year 2023-24.
The discoms helmed by state power utility UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) have sought the mandatory approval of the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) to this effect.
They have filed their annual revenue requirement (ARR) document with the UPERC, which is now mulling over the matter to adjudicate after considering the objections of all the stakeholders including consumers.
The beleaguered UP discoms are bogged down by massive losses of about Rs 70,000 crore accumulated over the past decades. The face the generic challenges of poor revenue collection, massive line losses and high subsidy bill to serve the below poverty line (BPL) and agricultural sector consumers.
According to their ARR proposal, the discoms have estimated line distribution losses of 14.9 percent and a revenue gap of Rs 9,140 crore in 2023-24. They have calculated revenues of more than Rs 92,000 crore if tariffs were allowed to be hiked.
To make up for the consolidated losses, the discoms have prayed for an average power tariff hike of 15.85 percent for all categories of consumers consisting of domestic, rural, industry etc.
If the ARR proposals are accepted in toto, the urban domestic consumers will incur the steepest rise of 18-23 percent in tariffs.
Similarly, the tariffs for industry and agriculture sectors will increase by 16 percent and 10-12 percent respectively. The subsidised power tariff for the BPL segment is proposed to be increased by 17 percent.
Meanwhile, UP power consumer forum president Avadhesh Kumar Verma petitioned the state energy watchdog to junk the discoms’ ARR proposal. He claimed the state power companies instead owe about Rs 25,000 crore to consumers.
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He demanded the discoms to provide a 35 percent reduction in power tariffs at one go or a 7 percent tariff reduction spread over five years to wipe out entire dues.