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UPCL’s claims over proposed hike of 7 percent in power tariff not correct

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By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 2 Jan: Ever since the Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited (UPCL)  proposed a hike in the power tariff to offset its losses, and submitted the proposal before the Uttarakhand Electricity Regulatory Commission (UERC), questions are being raised about the actual hike proposed by the UPCL in its proposal submitted to the UERC. While the UPCL has been claiming that it has proposed a 7 percent hike in the power tariff, sources claimed that the actual hike proposed was around 17 percent. However this additional hike beyond 7 percent claimed by the UPCL is in form of Surcharge. This additional surcharge is around 9.96 percent which is very high and has been opposed by the UERC. UERC has now uploaded its portal with the information in respect of proposed hike. Based on the information, suggestions have been sought from the consumers and a public hearing will also be held later. The proposed hike might become applicable with effect from 1 April this year.
In the proposal sent by UPCL to the Regulatory Commission on 15 December 15, a 6.5 percent surcharge was also added which was described by the UERC as against the rules. When the commission returned the proposal, UPCL made a fresh proposal on 26 December.
Now that the UPCL had to come out in the open after its hidden hike in form of the surcharge was struck down by the UERC, the UPCL had to admit that it was seeking a hike of 16.96 percent in the power tariff in order to meet its additional requirement of Rs 1507.13 crores.
As per the rules, the cross subsidy has to be reduced every year, but UPCL has in fact demanded an increase in the revised proposal.  It has demanded an increase in the cross subsidy from 19.80 to 23.86 percent in domestic category, increased from 15.90 to 17.27 percent in non-domestic category, while it has proposed decrease in cross subsidy from 14.20 to 11.66 percent in government public utility category. It has sought an increase in cross subsidy in case of private tubewell connections from 62.70 to 66.05 percent, and from 8.40 to 9.30 percent in LT industry, an increase from 9.20 to 9.82 in HT industry.

It remains to be seen what decision is finally taken by the UERC on the fresh proposal submitted by the UPCL.