Punjab cuts power tariff for domestic consumers

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Chandigarh, May 28 (PTI) The Punjab government on Friday announced a reduction of 50 paise to Re 1 per unit in power tariff for domestic consumers in the state.

This move shall result in financial relief to the tune of Rs 682 crore to these consumers, as per a statement by Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC).

Punjab, a Congress-ruled state, will go to polls early next year.

“In view of the hardship being faced by the weaker section of society due to the pandemic, the per unit tariff for domestic consumers with load up to 2kW (kilowatt) and consumption slabs of 0-100 units and 101-300 units have been reduced by Re 1 and 50 paise, respectively,” it said.

For domestic consumers having load between 2-7kW and for consumption slabs of 0-100 units and 101-300 units, tariffs have been reduced by 75 paise and 50 paise, respectively.

The new tariff will be applicable from June 1 to March 31, 2022, with the previous year's tariff , which was delayed because of the lockdown last year, being effective up to May 31.

Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said the “massive cut” in tariff will provide major relief to domestic consumers, especially the poor, who are reeling under financial stress due to the pandemic.

This is the second year in a row when the power tariff for domestic consumption has been reduced in Punjab. Domestic power rates were slashed by 50 paise per unit in 2020 too.

The chief minister said the decision to reduce power tariff for current fiscal year will bring relief for 69 lakh domestic consumers in the state.

The tariff for small and medium industrial consumers has not been changed while less than 2 per cent increase has been made for large industrial consumers, PSERC said.

Besides, special night tariff will continue for the industry.

Special night tariff with 50 per cent fixed charges and energy charge of Rs 4.86/kVAh (kilo volt ampere hour) for all industrial consumers using electricity exclusively during 10 pm to 6 am next day has been continued.

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 pandemic, an official statement said.

The industry has been getting power subsidy from the state government since 2017, when the tariff was reduced to Rs 5 per unit as variable cost, the statement said.

“Soon after coming to power, the 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,' it added.

The subsidy provided to industry by the state government for 2021-22 will be to the tune of Rs 1,900 crore, the statement said.

The government will also continue to subsidize Scheduled Caste, Backward Class and Below Poverty Line domestic consumers with 200 free units per month, and freedom fighters with 300 units per month for domestic consumption, the chief minister said.

On the demand of the industry, the facility for use of electricity by the night category consumers, during the extended 4 hours of 6 am to 10 am at normal tariff, has been extended for the whole year including during the summer/paddy season of 2021-22, as per PSERC.

The PSERC statement said industry has been offered reduced energy charge for consumption of power exceeding the threshold limit.

“The Commission decides to continue with its policy of encouraging the industry in promoting the productive use of surplus power by offering lower energy rate of Rs 4.86/kVAh for consumption of power exceeding the threshold limit,” it said. PTI SUN VSD ANU ANU