R Dutta Choudhury

AERC recommends 2% tariff cut

GUWAHATI, Feb 15: There will be some relief for electricity consumers in the state as the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC) has recommended an overall decrease of 2 per cent of power tariff for the financial year 2021-22 and the new rates will come into effect from April 1 this year.

The energy charges of low tension (LT) domestic and commercial categories have been reduced by 20 paise per kilowatt-hour, while charges for all other categories have been reduced by 15 paise per kilowatt hour. There will be no change in the fixed charges.

Talking to The Assam Tribune after formally signing the new tariff rates on Monday, AERC chairman Kumar Sanjay Krishna said that the performance and cost of generation, transmission and distribution were taken into account while fixing the new tariff.

He expressed hope that the performance of the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL), Assam Power Generation Company Ltd (APGCL) and Assam Electricity Grid Corporation Ltd (AEGCL) would improve further in the years to come so that the tariff can be reduced further.

Sanjay Krishna said that a large number of industries suffered badly because of the COVID-19 outbreak last year and the AERC tried to give the best possible relief to them under the circumstances. However, the problems of the power companies, including shortage of gas, technical issues relating to power transmission, etc., were also taken into consideration.

Every year, power companies should submit their requirements for the next financial year by November 30 and the Commission, after studying the submissions by the power companies, also obtains the views of other stakeholders before finalising the tariff.

The Assam government has committed to provide an amount of Rs 400 crore as power purchase subsidy to the APDCL for the coming financial year and the AERC has taken that into account while finalising the tariff for the year. Though the APDCL had submitted a proposal where the average cost of supply for the coming financial year was shown as Rs 8.23 per kWh, the Commission calculated that it should be Rs 7.55 per kWh and the tariff was fixed on that basis. The Commission also approved cumulative revenue requirement of Rs 6068.99 crore for the APDCL for the coming financial year.

The AERC also approved station-wise aggregate revenue requirement (ARR) for the APGCL for the coming financial year and approved generation tariff of Rs 2.65 per kWr based on the latest fuel costs. The Commission also approved a surplus of Rs 63.26 crore on account of truing up of the financial year 2019-20, which would be refunded to the APDCL in 12 monthly instalments. It also approved transmission charge of Rs 0.40 per kWh for the next financial year.

It may be mentioned here that it is for the fourth consecutive year that the AERC recommended decrease of power tariff and Sanjay Krishna hoped that with improvement of performance of the power companies, the tariff would come down further in the years to come.