KOLKATA, March 14 � The Assam Government will not hike consumer electricity prices this year, although a 7-12 per cent hike for the commercial sector is under consideration, an official of the State electricity regulatory commission said on Saturday.
�The electricity prices won�t increase for domestic category of consumers. However, for the industrial and commercial segment it will increase by 7-12 per cent depending on the nature and scale of the industry,� a member of the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission RK Gogoi told IANS while attending an event organised by the Independent Power Producers Association of India.
The former general manager of State-owned Assam Petrochemicals Ltd said increasing operational expenses is the reason behind the price hike and taxing the industrial sector alone will be enough to meet the rising expenses.
While the peak-hour power requirement in the State is 1,300 MW, Assam produces 700 MW of power annually, he said.
�There is always a shortfall of 250 MW in normal times.�
The State Government is also exploring avenues to produce alternate electricity as well as setting up thermal coal-based power units.
Gogoi said the Central Government is setting up a 250-270 MW coal-based power generating station at Bongaon in Jorhat district that will cater to the North-eastern State�s electricity requirements.
�Assam�s share from that project will be 25 per cent... the State Government is also planning to set-up two coal-based power plants in Chandrapur (near Guwahati) and Margherita (in Tinsukia district) that will be on a joint venture basis,� he said.
It is also considering solar power as an alternative to the predominant natural gas-based power generators and has floated a project to set-up a unit of 5 MW capacity.
�The State Government is coming up with a new solar power policy this year and it is in the drafting stage presently,� he said.
He, however, said implementing solar projects may be a challenge as the intensity of the sun�s rays is not optimally intense and in winters it is predominantly dark.
When asked about the possibility of biogas mining for power generation, the official ruled out any possibility in the near future as it had �no administered price�. � IANS