Besides, the power tariffs for the state commercial sector consumers have also been proposed to be hiked by 10-15 per cent.
The UPPCL has already submitted the proposed new power tariff structure for 2019-20 with the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) for vetting and final approval. Now, the state energy watchdog would conduct public hearing and issue a public notice before taking a call on the new tariff order for the current financial year.
Interestingly, the state power utility had kept power tariffs unchanged for 2018-19 in run up to the Lok Sabha elections and to keep the different category of consumers in good humour. Power tariffs had witnessed a hike in November 2017, when UPERC – while sparing the industrial sector from any increase for 2017-18 – had announced average tariff rise of 12.72 per cent across board. The average power tariff hike was then steepest compared to preceding two years with average hike in 2015-16 and 2016-17 figuring at 5.47 per cent and 3.18 per cent, respectively.
The state energy department has sought to justify the proposed increase in power tariff for the current year over steeper prices of fuel, including coal, and consequently higher cost of power generation.
In its proposal filed with the UPERC, the UPPCL has pegged 2019-20 annual revenue requirement (ARR) at Rs 76,495 crore, while estimating the revenue-expenditure gap at Rs 18,091 crore, thus offering a precursor to its justification of increasing power tariffs in the state for economic viability and sustainability.
UP Power Consumers Council chairman Avadhesh Kumar Verma has alleged the yawning revenue-expenditure gap and the projected loss by the state power utility was majorly owing to gross inefficiency of the UPPCL management, apart from the procurement of expensive power.
“The Council will not allow such steep hike in power tariffs for domestic consumers. We will soon chalk our next course of action to oppose this unjustified proposal,” he told Business Standard adding his organisation will take to streets to protest if the proposed higher tariffs were approved by the UPERC.