The residents of Bihar likely to have a major shock as there has been a hike in electricity rates by 20 percent of the existing rates. The new power tariff will be applicable from Saturday, April 1, 2017. The Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) had come up with an unprecedented hike of 55 per cent in power tariff. However, the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday announced in the state Assembly that the state government would provide subsidy on power bill to consumers. Despite this, the consumers will have to bear an additional burden of 20 percent on the electricity bills, reported News24.
The BERC’s price hike sparked protest in Bihar followed by the CM’s announcement that the state government would provide subsidy on power bill to consumers instead of power companies from 2017-18 fiscal. Nitish Kumar had said the move will help consumers to understand at which rate electricity has been made available to it and how much subsidy is given by the state government on his/her consumption. The CM further said Bihar was the first state to experiment this policy of providing power subsidy straightway to consumers. If this succeeds it would be followed by others too, as the senior officials of the Centre have appreciated the concept, said Kumar.
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For Kutir Jyoti (KJ) for BPL families with the limit of 50 units, BERC had announced Rs 6.08 per unit rate. On this, the state government would provide Rs 3.58 per unit subsidy after which the final rate would come down to Rs 2.50 a unit. For a domestic consumer in rural areas, the Commission suggested tariff of Rs 6.45 per unit on which the state would provide Rs 3.10 per unit subsidy on which the final rate would come down to Rs 3.35 a unit. For an Urban domestic consumer, BERC rate was Rs 6.48 per unit, subsidy is Rs 1.48 a unit and final charge is Rs 5 per unit. Nitish Kumar had added that the new power tariff was lower than that in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal in 2016-17 fiscal.
However, the Kumar’s announcement of providing relief to consumers by way of direct subsidy on power was highly criticised by the Opposition. BJP leader Sushil Modi, who is the Leader of Opposition in the state, on Friday said the announcement to pay subsidy directly to consumers is like “khoda pahad nikali chunhiya (infinitesimal result after much effort). Modi called it as “the highest increase in one go in the last 15 years” and said the BJP would protest after consulting its NDA allies in the state.
(With inputs from PTI)