Regulatory commission okays power tariff hike in Bihar next year

According to the order of the state electricity regulatory commission, the companies would increase 48.89 paise per unit charge if the estimated sales of the electricity by both the distribution companies in the financial year 2023-24 is 32587.01 million units

Power tariff hike Jharkhand

Patna: The power distribution companies of the Bihar government are all set to charge 50 paise more for per unit consumption from the coming fiscal. The Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) has given its consent to the power distribution companies, North and South Bihar Power Distribution Companies, to hike the power tariff after hearing the review petition filed by them.

The commission has approved the proposal to raise the user charge with the condition of supplying 32,587.01 million units in the next financial year i.e. 2023-24. Chairman of the BERC Shishir Sinha pronounced this decision on behalf of the commission on Monday.

North Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (NBPDCL) and South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (SBPDCL) had demanded ₹23835.31 crore for the financial year 2022-23. The company had sought to increase the tariff from the current fiscal, cited revenue deficit of ₹1184.41 crore despite good earnings from sale of electricity.

After reviewing all the facts, the commission considered the expenditure of the power company to be ₹21455.97 crore only. The difference was only ₹6.69 crores after the company earned from the sale of electricity and did not increase the electricity rates. Opposing this, the company had filed a revised petition to increase the electricity rates.

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All the arguments offered by the power companies were rejected by the commission. But after the decision of the commission, the power company filed a review petition. The company said that the commission in its decision did not count the grant of ₹1264.38 crore given by the state government. The company had also said that aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) loss was approved at 19.50% in the Central Government’s scheme RDSS, but the commission gave its decision on 15% only. Apart from this, to provide electricity to the people of Bihar, the company purchased expensive electricity from the open market. The commission ignored these issues.

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On the argument of the power company, the commission took the views of all the parties. Last week, the commission had reserved its decision on the company’s petition. An order in this regard was issued on Monday. The commission rejected all other arguments of the company while accepting the grant from the state government. The commission chairman in his order to review the actual expenditure for the financial year 2020-21, stated that the power distribution companies may ask for additional subsidy of ₹1264.38 crore from the state government on account of AT&C loss.

No tariff hike this year

The commission said that there will be no increase in electricity rate in the current financial year. It said that the grant should be included in the public interest petition to be filed for the financial year 2023-24. According to the order of the commission, the company would increase 48.89 paise per unit charge if the estimated sales of the electricity by both the distribution companies in the financial year 2023-24 is 32587.01 million units.

It is noteworthy that the power company had supplied 24,342 million units of electricity in the financial year 2020-21. It increased to 27,743.32 million units in 2021-22, whereas electricity consumption is projected to be around 29,835 million units in the current fiscal.

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