Reverse everything? AP power consumers get a rude shock over tariff hike

In a rude shock to domestic power consumers in Andhra Pradesh, the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC) on Monday announced a hike in electricity charges for domestic consumers by 90 paise per unit, if their monthly consumption exceeded 500 units.
“At present, the power tariff for a consumption of above 500 units per month is Rs 9.05 per unit (kilowatt hour). It will now become Rs 9.95 paise per unit. There is no change in the power tariff for consumers, whose power consumption does not exceed 500 units,” APERC chairman Justice (Retd) C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy told reporters.
The new tariffs will come into effect from April 1. This is the first time in the last six years that the power tariff has been increased, albeit for a limited number of consumers, in Andhra Pradesh.
He added that the “hike in power tariff will affect only 1.35 lakh consumers out of the total number of 1.45 crore domestic consumers in the state. This is a very marginal hike only for high-end consumers. So, for middle class and lower middle-class consumers, there is no impact,” he said.
However, the APERC expects that the two power distribution companies (Discoms) in the state — AP Southern Power Distribution Company Ltd (APSPDCL) and AP Eastern Power Distribution Company Ltd (APEPDCL) – would generate an additional revenue of Rs 1300 crore from the tariff hike.
Reddy said the two Discoms together had projected a deficit of Rs 14,349 crore at current tariffs and a deficit of Rs 12,954 with the proposed tariff hike to certain categories of consumers. 
“The commission, after due diligence, has determined a net deficit of Rs.10,060.63 crore for both the licensees, thereby avoiding the possible burden of a further sum of Rs.2893 crore on the consumers or the state government,” he said.
The state government has agreed to bear the subsidy burden of Rs. 8,353 from the agriculture sector in the form of free supply of power. The government has also agreed to bear the subsidy of Rs. 1,707 crore due to concessions extended to domestic consumers, he said.
In order to promote usage of environment-friendly Electric Vehicles for transport, the Commission has kept the tariff for the Electric Vehicles at a reasonable level of Rs. 6.70 per unit against Rs.12.25 per unit proposed by the Discoms, the commission chairman said.

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