Consumers will have to shell out more on electricity as power tariffs in Haryana have been increased by up to 50 paise per unit, a move which was criticised by opposition Congress and INLD. While senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala demanded immediate roll back of the hike and described it as “anti-people”, INLD’s Abhay Singh Chautala alleged that the BJP government in Haryana had “broken” its promise. The new rates of the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) for this fiscal will be effective from July 1 and base rates in various categories have been increased by 30 paise to 50 paise per unit, a spokesman for the commission said here. Fuel surcharge adjustment (FSA) for all categories has been reduced by 28 paise per unit and commercial consumers have been given relief of Rs 10 per kW in fixed charges, he said.
Domestic consumers with a monthly consumption of up to 150 units have been spared from hike. Their FSA has been decreased by 28 paise per unit, the spokesman said. He said domestic consumers with monthly consumption of 150 to 500 units have been given rebate of about 80 paise per unit in FSA in the last nine months and now, their base rate has been increased by 25 paise with FSA decreased by 28 paise. This will provide them with additional benefit of three paise per unit and relief of about 83 paise per unit, he said.
The spokesman said that similarly, domestic consumers with consumption of over 500 units per month have been given rebate of about 90 paise per unit in FSA in the last nine months. “Their base rate has now been increased by 35 paise but their FSA has been decreased by 28 paise per unit, which would result in burden of only seven paise per unit,” he said. The spokesman said that there was a possibility of further decrease in FSA from December, which would provide additional benefit to all consumers.
Besides, rebate of Rs 15 in monthly minimum charges has been provided to domestic consumers with load of more than 2 kW, he said, adding that there were two components of electricity tariffs, namely base rate and FSA. “Since September last year, the Discoms in Haryana had effected considerable decrease in the FSA, with 37 paise per unit from September 1, 2016, 40.60 paise per unit from April 1, 2017 and now 28 paise per unit from July 1, 2017 onwards.
“However, in the last one-and-a-half years, the base rate has been increased only slightly for the first time. In aggregate, in spite of the increase in base rate, all consumers have been provided relief of 77 paise to Rs 1.09 per unit,” he claimed. Soon after the announcements, Surjewala demanded the immediate withdrawal of electricity tariff hike and described it as “anti-people Jajiya Tax”. The hike would burn holes in pockets of ordinary ‘Haryanavis’, who are already facing the heat of inflation, he said.
Reminding Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar of his promise six months ago that “there will be no increase in rates of power for three years”, Surjewala said, ” The CM’s empty promises have become one more hollow claim to dupe the people of the state”. “The financial burden of up to 50 paisa per unit has been imposed on the consumers who feel deceived and cheated as Khattar’s words have ceased to have any meaning,” Surjewala said in a statement here.
Slamming the BJP government, Chautala alleged, “Khattar himself broke his promise as he had earlier said that during tenure of present government, power rates would never be increased.” Power rates have been increased at a time when electricity is being provided by several states around the country at cheaper rates, he claimed. The INLD leader said increased power rates would not only hit the common consumer, but would also deal a blow to the state industry.