Curious seems Odisha's power play. The State is having the cheapest APCC (Average power Purchase Cost) in the country. But the price consumers pay per unit is among the highest in the country.
As per a CERC 2020-21 order, Odisha with an APCC of Rs 2.46 per unit has the lowest power purchase cost in the country. The other states where the APCC is cheaper are Goa (Rs 2.83/unit), Kerala (2.87/unit), J&K (Rs 2.77/unit) and Himachal Pradesh (Rs2.57/unit).
States like Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Gujarat have higher APCC than Odisha. The APCC in Chhattisgarh is over Rs 3. In Delhi, it is Rs 4.11/unit. The APCC in Gujarat is Rs 3.67/unit. Now, look at the rate chart consumers pay for their electricity bills.
Odisha Vs Chhattisgarh
A consumer using up to 400 units will pay Rs 494.10 as against Rs 497.60 in Odisha,
Odisha Vs Andhra Pradesh
The rate for 400 units is Rs 491.63.
Odisha Vs Delhi
The rate is only Rs 406.88.
Odisha Vs Gujarat
In this western Indian state, rural consumers for consuming up to 400 units pay Rs 432.69, whereas in urban areas, consumers pay Rs 504.46. This shows rural consumers in Gujarat pay a lesser amount than their Odisha counterparts.
Odisha Vs Goa
The APCC in the small western state of Goa has been Rs 2.83/unit. While paying their electricity bills, consumers in Goa have this feeling. (see the table below).
However, when it comes to Odisha, the consumers face a plug out scenario as they have to pay hefty power bills every month. The OERC today has announced no rise in power tariff for domestic consumers in the year 2022-23. So, take a look at the table below and mark the contrast with Goa.
Odisha Vs Himachal Pradesh
In the hilly state, due to the high hydropower share, the APCC in Himachal has been estimated at Rs 2.57/unit. Below is the consumer cost in HP. The average cost a consumer charges per unit has been lower than Odisha, still, the government provides subsidy and the effective rate has been quite low for a consumer. (see the tables below).
Odisha Vs Kerala
Kerala is also among the five states in the country where the APCC has been below Rs 3. It is the only state that implements both telescopic and non-telescopic tariffs.
As Odisha is also following the telescopic tariff model, a comparison shows the consumers in Kerala shell a hefty amount per unit than their Odisha counterparts. (see the table below)
Why Kerala Power Costly?
God's Own Country has rich water sources to generate power. Hydel power is considered the cheapest vis-a-vis thermal in the country and globally too.
As per a report, the Kerala State Electricity Board raises the tariff by a hefty sum to fund the small hydel projects in the State. As the projects witness cost overrun, the KSEB shows its revenue requirement higher and the KERC (Kerala Electricity Regulatory Commission) puts its stamp by effecting a rise in power tariff.
The Key Pointer
The Kerala example shows how the power bill turns costliest. In Odisha too, the higher electricity cost per unit paid by consumers is attributed to the inefficiency of distribution companies (Discoms). Consider the inefficiencies that compel a consumer to pay through nose.
- Distribution loss in Tata Power Central Odisha Distribution Ltd (TPCODL) in 2021-22 at 23.42 percent
- The collection efficiency of TPCODL had been around 95 percent.
- As a consequence, the AT and C (Aggregate Technical and Commercial) losses for the TPCODL stood at 26.89 percent as against OERC's target of 20.02 percent.
- Simply put, for every 100 MW power supply, over 23 MW is lost in distribution. Moreover, there has been a gap of 5 percent in bill collection. And the discoms to make up this loss, charge a higher tariff of electricity supplied per unit by giving the reason of rise in power purchase cost.
- This shows the rise in power purchase cost is basically the inefficiency of the discoms, nothing else.
- Such a pathetic scenario prevails in TP South Odisha Distribution Ltd, TP WODL and TPNODL.