OERC to announce new power tariff by March 20

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Bhubaneswar: Amid speculation about a power tariff hike in the State, the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) will announce the tariff for the year 2016-17 by March 20.

This was informed by officials who attended the meeting of the State Advisory Committee of OERC on Thursday.

“The Commission will decide (about tariff hike) after taking a balanced view from both consumers and the power generating and distributing companies. The decision has not yet been taken. Many factors will be taken into consideration before any changes in the tariff chart. Tentatively, the order will beissued by March 20 and implemented with effect from April 1,” said Kamal Lochan Panda, Secretary-In charge, OERC.

However, citing tariff hike in previous years, the official clarified that it was the need of the hour. The Commission doesn’t want its consumers to be over-burdened, an official said.

“In previous years, there were instances of power tariff hike, which were necessitated due to some unavoidable circumstances. We will be able to know about this year’s tariff only after the order is issued,” stated Priyabrata Pattnaik, Director (Regulatory Affairs), OERC.

Notably, based on the proposal for hike in tariff by power producing, purchasing and distribution companies, the Commission had conducted a public hearing a few days back and sought suggestions from the consumers.

While Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC) had proposed to increase per unit power tariff from 82 paise to Re 1.43 for the financial year 2016-17, Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC) sought a hike in the per unit cost of power from the existing Rs 2.20 to Rs 2.82 per unit.

GRIDCO and OPTCL had also requested OERC to increase their cost per unit from the existing Rs 2.84 to Rs 3.62 and 25 paise to 35 paise respectively. Besides, the distribution companies (discoms) also proposed a tariff hike of Re 1 per unit citing aggregated technical and commercial (AT&C) loss.

If proposals of the companies are accepted, it would result in electricity tariff hike of Rs 3.20 per unit for the domestic consumers, who have already endured a 20 paise hike per unit this year.

Meanwhile, the power consumers’ body has demanded that the State government should not hike power tariff until the audit on alleged misappropriation of Rs 450 crore is finished.

“The government should not increase the power tariff until the CAG audit on irregularities of Rs 450 crore in completed. Besides, the government, must collect Rs 30,000 crore from the defaulter discoms without any delay,” Odisha State Power Consumers Federation (OSPCF) chairman and former finance minister Panchanan Kanungo said.

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