Turning on your AC might seem like the easiest way to beat the heat this sweltering summer in Kerala. But thanks to a steep hike in power tariffs, this could burn a big hole in your pockets in the coming days.
The hike, which came into effect on Tuesday, will make power bills costlier by 10 to 50 paise per unit depending on their consumption, for domestic consumers.
For those users who consume less than 250 units of electricity per month, the rates per unit rise by 10-30 paise. For users consuming above 250 units per month, rates have been hiked by 40-50 paise per unit. The rates for those consuming above 500 units, however have not been raised.
The fixed charges for single-phase and three-phase connections has also been hiked from Rs 20 to Rs 30 per month, and from Rs 60 to Rs 80 per month, respectively.
This is the first hike in power tariff in Kerala after a gap of nearly three years. According to Business Line, the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission announced the hike although there was to be no hike in tariffs in 2017 and 2018, according to the UDAY agreement signed between the Union Power Ministry, the state government and the power distribution company KSEB.
Business Line also reported that KSERC announced the hike even though KSEB had not made a demand for the hike.
Below-poverty-line consumers, who consume up to 40 units of electricity per month, have been excluded from the hike. The agricultural sector, which is reeling under the effects of drought has also been kept out. Some other categories that already pay higher than average charges have also been exempted.
The hike comes even as the KSEB continues to be burdened with a revenue deficit of Rs 4,944 crore. The KSERC observed that previous hikes in 2012, 2013 and 2014 have failed to curtail this deficit. The current hike is expected to generate an additional Rs 550 crore in revenue, and together with the surplus of Rs 491 crore, will reduce the deficit by Rs 1,041 crore.