Shimla, Sep 17
As many as 11 lakh electricity consumers who consumed upto 125 units per month would be immune from the hike in the power tariff. Replying discussion brought by Congress member Harshvardhan Chauhan, Ram Lal Thakur and Rajinder Singh Rana Power minister under rule Sec 130, Sukh Ram Chaudhary said that power tariff was hiked by the Government however about 11 lakh customers who are consuming upto 125 units per months are kept out of this hike.
He said that the State electricity board provides free power to consumers who are consuming between 0 to 60 units. He said that those consumers between 61 to 125 units (30 pc of customer) would continue to pay the old charges of Rs 1.55 per unit as no change has been made.
The government provides subsidy of approximately Rs. 450 Cr every year to 11 lakh (18 pc) users consuming electricity less than 125 units per month while the rest goes to 9 lakh consumers with consumption of more than 125 units per month. In order to rationalize the subsidy pattern across the consumers, the government has ensured that consumers with low consumption have little or no impact at all in their monthly bills. So, the subsidy pattern for 11 lakh consumers consuming less than 125 units per month has not been affected at all.
About 4.50 lakh consumers (20 pc) with consumption of 126-200 units per month would have an impact of Rs. 40-113 ( 85 paisa per unit) in their monthly bills as power tariff has been increased from Rs 1.55 to Rs 1.85 per unit. Rest of the consumers would have a proportionate increase in their monthly bills as per the consumption. He said that the Government hiked the power tariff on the power slabs of above 126 to 200 units.
Minister said that three lakh consumers use between 126 to 300 units to be charged from Rs 2.95 to Rs 3.95 per unit which is increased by Rs one. In order to rationalize the subsidy pattern across the consumers, the government has ensured that users with low consumption have little or no impact at all in their monthly bills. So, the subsidy pattern for 11 lakh consumers consuming less than 125 units per month has not been altered at all.
Almost four lakh users with consumption of 125- 200 units per month would have an impact of Rs. 40-113 in their monthly bills. Rest of the consumers would have a proportionate increase in their monthly bills as per the consumption.
Chaudhary said that being a power producing state, power is much cheaper in Himachal compared to other state consumers with consumption of 125-300 units per month in Punjab and Uttarakhand is Rs. 6.59 and Rs. 3.27 per unit while it is only Rs. 2.62 per unit in Himachal Pradesh. The consumers with consumption of more than 300 units per month in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Delhi is Rs. 7.06, Rs. 5.90, Rs. 5.72 and Rs. 6.50 per unit respectively while it is only Rs. 3.93 per unit in Himachal Pradesh. Even with the rationalization, the weighted average tariff in the State is still lower than the neighbouring States which is Rs. 3.36 per unit. Minister said that compared to Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, the number of employees in the electricity board are very high and power production of Rs 2.50 per unit is being spent on dispersing the salaries, allowance and pensions needed to rationalise the state expenditure. Minister said that the Jai Ram Government has reduced the power tariff from Rs 1.20 per unit to 50 paisa.
Minister said that the Jai Ram Government provided the package of Rs 12 Crore to the state electricity board to waive off the demand charges from the hospitality units. He assured to reconsider the hike in the power tariff and said that he would order the officials to mend the power bills if sundry charges have been charged or bills have been issued in Sujanpur and Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. Minister said that a new power policy would be framed soon to make the Himachal Pradesh power state.
Earlier taking part in the discussion Harash Vardhan Chauhan alleged that Jai Ram Government showed no sensitivity before hike the power tariff in the state when people of state are facing the burnt of Covid pandemic. He said that increase in the power tariff are too high and could not be justified.
Congress member Jagat Singh Negi said that Himachal Pradesh was made a power state by the Congress rule and now Jai Ram Government could not handle the situation and burdening the people by such action . The Congress Government developed a number of power projects and made the Himachal Power state which is completing the demand of the entire north India.
Speaking on the issue Rajinder Singh Rana said that the Government should reconsider as the hike in the power tariff is unjustified. He said that a man belonged to his assembly constituency got bills in lacs and sundry charges were charged in his power bill.
Ram Lal Thakur of Congress said that the Government should reconsider the decisions of hike in power tariff as people of his assembly constituency are being issued exorbitant bills having inflated sundry charges. Mohan Lal Bragta of Congress highlighted that problem of load shedding and low laying power span over the apple orchards. Sunder Singh Thakur of Cong said that hike of tariff would have ruined the hospitality industry which are already facing burns due to Covid pandemic. He said that most affected section of the power hike is domestic consumers which are targeted by the Government by taking anti-people steps.
BJP member Rakesh Jamwal defending the price hike said that the BJP government provided relaxation to the farmers as the power tariff for the farmer consumers was reduced to 50 paise. Member said that domestic consumers have also affected by the power tariff which is fact. Jamwal said that power charges were increased by the Congress rule in the state.