Power bills for both domestic and commercial users in Karnataka are set to increase from April 2017. The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, announce a hike in electricity tariffs for 2017-18.
The KERC has hiked the power tariff up to 48 paisa per unit for all urban domestic users.
For domestic users in urban areas, those using up to 30 units, the price has gone up to Rs 3.25 per unit from the existing Rs 3. For those using 30 to 100 units, the tarrif has increased from 4.40 to 4.70 per unit; usage between 100-200 units has increased from RS 5.90 to Rs 6.25 per unit.
Those using 200 to 300 units will have to shell out Rs 7.30 per unit from the previous Rs 6.90, Rs 7.35 per unit for those using 300-400 units and Rs 7.40 per unit for those using above 400 units.
â€śFor the domestic consumers in Rural areas, the tariff for monthly consumption of upto 30 units is increased from Rs.2.90 per unit to Rs. 3.15 per unit and for consumption between 31 and 100 units the tariff is increased from Rs.4.10 per unit to Rs. 4.40 per unit. The tariff for monthly consumption of 101-200 units is increased from Rs. 5.60 to Rs.5.95 per unit. The tariff for monthly consumption of above 200 units is increased from Rs.6.40 to Rs.6.80 per unit,â€ť says KERC in a press release.
â€śThose who use more electricity have to pay more. In 2012-13, 73 paise hike was proposed, but the KERC approved only 13 paise hike. Similarly, KERC approved 23 paise, 32 paise, 13 paise and 48 paise hike as against the request for 70 paise, 66 paise, 80 paise and Rs 1.02 respectively between 2013-14 and 2016-17,â€ť Shankarlinge Gowda, Chairman of KERC told TNM.
The KERC Chairman also announced that diagnostic centres and medical labs, which were earlier paying based on rates for domestic users, will now be classified as commercial establishments.
"The price has been hiked by an average of 35 paise for commercial users. For Industrial establishments, there has been an increase between 20 to 40 paise. For farmers, we have advised the government to survey all the pumps by July and ensure that meters are fixed. Once this is done, farmer subsidies on electricity will be deposited to their accounts directly. Currently power supply companies are getting the subsidy. We want farmers to avail it directly," Gowda said.
Tarrif revisions are usually announced on March 31 and since Bescom had delayed the submission of its revision proposal, there was a delay in the announcement as the government had to allow time for consumers to file objections.
Gowda said that the delay in announcement does not mean that the tariff is not applicable from April 1. The new tariff will be applied accordingly, he added.
Coordinator of Karnataka Electricity Governance Network, Y G Muralidhara, said that 80% of the cost accrued from consumers has gone into purchase of power.
â€śThe state is largely dependent on thermal power. Hence, we are paying more. Surplus power was generated earlier from hydel dams as there was abundance of rain. But due to the failure of monsoons, dependency on hydel power too has decreased,â€ť he added.
Gowda, confirmed Muralidharâ€™s statement and said that in 2015-16, the hydro power generated in the Sharavati Hydro Power Plant had stopped, due to which Karnataka government has been forced to buy turbine power from other states.
â€śLast year alone, the government incurred a loss of Rs 2,296 crore. This is why we have increased the tariff,â€ť Gowda added.
Power consumption, on the other hand, has increased and according to Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) Managing Director, Kumar Naik, the average power consumption per day in Karnataka had crossed 227 MU, from 217 MU in February this year.
Karnataka generates around 280 MU of power every day. This is excluding the transmission losses. Naik, however, said that the state has sufficient power and any interruptions were due to local issues.
All electricity supply companies, excluding the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), had on March 31, sought a steep hike of Rs 1.48 per unit. Bescom had submitted its proposal a week later.
Due to this, the KERC announced a separate tariff for Bescom consumers for the first time. The commission had allowed for a 9% hike last year and it is not denying another increase.
â€śLast year, the revenue gap had gone up from Rs1, 000 crore to Rs2,500 crore. We had to fill the gap this year. We have ensured that electricity companies run without deficit and at the same time do not make profits out of the consumersâ€™ plight,â€ť Gowda said.