GUWAHATI, Jan 17 � Another hike in power tariff seems to be almost inevitable as of now, as, the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) and its successor company Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) are considering extraction of an additional tariff of 0.60 paisa to 0.65 paisa, with effect from the next month, from the power consumers.
ASEB and its successor companies are now in a desperate mood to realise the excess amount of around Rs 20 crore they are made to cough out every month, on an average, following the hike in natural gas prices.
The Board has already made a plea with the State Government to bail it out the critical situation arising out of this additional burden.
Further, the Board has also pleaded with the State Government that it be provided with some relief in matters of the additional burden resulting from the purchase of extra units of power during the lean season-January, February and March. For that purpose, the Board and its successor companies have been incurring an additional expenditure of about Rs 23 crore per month, on an average.
The above ASEB plea was made as per the provisions of the Electricity Act, 2005 for Government subsidies, with an aim at avoiding a hike in the power tariff. The latest communication in this respect was made by ASEB in the first week of the current month, ASEB sources said.
The Board also issued newspaper advertisements informing the consumers of its compulsions. The State Government is yet to make any commitment to the Board on the issue.
The Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC) had notified recently the fuel and power purchase price adjustment (FPPPA) regulation approving a procedure for making necessary price adjustments on a quarterly basis for adjusting the additional burden of around Rs 20 crore. Estimates made for the purpose show that an amount in the range of 0.60 to 0.65 paisa should be realised from the consumers against per unit of power.
State's Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi told this newspaper here today that the Government is looking into the matter. However, the Government so far has not allowed the ASEB/APDCL to enhance the power tariff, he said.
The Minister added that Tripura had in September, 2010 hiked the power tariff by Rs 1.30 per unit following the hike in natural gas price. About 75 per cent of the power consumed by the neighbouring state is gas-based thermal power, against Assam's 60 per cent, said the Minister.
ASEB/ APDCL have now been made to pay an amount of around Rs 6,000 against the about Rs 2, 200 they were paying earlier for per MCM of natural gas. Earlier, the total amount in the range of Rs 4 crore to Rs 5 crore was paid by the ASEB/APDCL per month against gas prices. Now they are paying between Rs 13 crore and Rs 14 crore per month for the purpose.
Again, NEEPCO is also made to pay between Rs 16 crore and Rs 17 crore now for procuring natural gas for its gas-based power stations, against the about Rs 7.6 crore it was paying earlier. The private sector DLF is made to incur an additional amount of around Rs 1 crore.
ASEB/APDCL sell around 300 million units - that is 30 crore units-of power per month on an average.