After PSERC reduces domestic power tariff, Punjab CM says decision will benefit poor consumers amid COVID-19

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Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh (File Photo/ANI)
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh (File Photo/ANI)

Chandigarh [India], May 28 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday said that the massive cut, ranging from 50 paise to Rs 1 per unit, in domestic power tariff will provide major relief to domestic consumers, especially the poor, who are already reeling under financial problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Punjab Chief Minister's Office (CMO), this is the second year in a row that the power tariff for domestic consumption in the state has been reduced. Domestic power rates had been cut down by 50 paise per unit by the regulator in 2020 too, it underlined.

While pointing out that the decision of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) to reduce the domestic tariff would bring relief to the tune of Rs 682 Crore for 69 lakh domestic consumers in the state, the Chief Minister also hailed the decision of the regulator not to increase tariff for commercial consumers as well as small and medium industry amid the Covid pandemic.

Even the hike in tariff for industrial users was quite marginal, he pointed out, adding that this would also come as a relief to industry, which had also been severely impacted by the lockdowns and demand crisis as a result of the unprecedented contagion outbreak.

As per the release by the CMO, the industry has been getting power subsidies from the state government since 2017 when the tariff was reduced to Rs 5 per unit as a variable cost. Soon after coming to power, the Captain Amarinder Singh government, in line with its poll promise, had announced its decision to subsidize power for the industry.

"The government has given a total industrial power subsidy of Rs 4,911 crore during 2017-21, with the same being availed by around 42,000 Medium and Large Industrial consumers, along with 1,04,000 Small Industrial consumers. The subsidy provides to the industry by the state government for FY2021-22 will be to the tune of Rs 1,900 crore," read the release.

The Chief Minister said despite the revenue shortfall in the state exchequer due to the Covid crisis, his government was committed to continuing giving free power to the farmers and subsidized power to the industry.

"His government will also continue to subsidize SC, BC, and BPL domestic consumers with 200 free units per month, and Freedom Fighters with 300 units per month for domestic consumption," he added.

The Chief Minister also hailed the PSERC decision not to hike the power tariff in the prevailing situation, when shopkeepers in the NRS category had been badly impacted by the lockdown. The same was the case for Small Power (SP) and Medium Supply (MS) categories of industrial consumers, he noted.

"The PSERC's decision to continue with the special night tariff with 50 per cent fixed charges and energy charges of Rs.4.86/Kvah for Large Supply (LS)/Medium Supply (MS)/Small Power (SP) industrial consumers using electricity exclusively during the hours of 10:00 pm to 06:00 am was also welcome. This would help the small units overcome some of the economic losses suffered due to the lockdown," he added.

Further, Singh said that the decision on continued billing at reduced energy charges for consumption in excess of the threshold limit of the last two fiscals would boost the use of surplus power by the industry, which would, in turn, help bring the stressed industry back on track.

"To encourage the industry in promoting the productive use of surplus power, a lower energy rate at Rs.4.86/Kvah for consumption of power exceeding the threshold limit has been allowed. "Voltage Rebate" will be in addition to the capped energy charges of Rs.4.86/Kvah," said the Chief Minister. (ANI)

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