Reducing power tariff a right move, not free electricity: Punjab power sector experts

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Chandigarh, Jun 29 (PTI) With Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announcing up to 300 units of free electricity if comes to power in Punjab, the state's electricity sector experts on Tuesday said this move can put an additional financial burden of Rs 4,000-Rs 5,000 crore on the state exchequer.

They further said that rather than offering freebies to power consumers, the political parties should focus on reducing tariffs and reviewing power purchase agreements.

The Aam Aadmi Party's National Convener Kejriwal on Tuesday promised up to 300 units of free electricity for each household in Punjab if his party is voted to power in the state.

He also promised 24-hour power supply in Punjab and waiver of pending domestic electricity bills if his party formed the government in the 2022 assembly elections.

Already, Punjab is bearing a financial burden of over Rs 10,000 crore annually on account of subsidised power.

'It (the announcement of giving 300 units to each household) is totally a wrong move,' said B S Sran, former chairman and managing director of the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd.

This announcement is aimed at only to get votes, he added.

Sran said the announcement of up to 300 units of electricity will not benefit too many people since if even one unit exceeds the ceiling, the whole bill will have to be paid by consumers.

Moreover, there is not going to be any relief for consumers during the summer season as the consumption of electricity during this time is higher as compared to other months.

'It will put an additional burden of Rs 4,000-Rs 5,000 crore,' said Sran.

An official of PSPCL, on the condition of anonymity, said power consumers can be given relief with only reducing power tariff.

He further said power consumers could also be provided relief by reducing various levies and taxes imposed on the electricity which worked out at 20 per cent.

He added that the government should also review the power purchase agreements signed with three private thermal plants as it was draining resources of the power utility.

According to him, the PSPCL has to pay fixed charges.

On Monday, Aam Aadmi Party's Punjab unit chief Bhagwant Mann had said the PSPCL has so far paid Rs 20,000 crore as fixed charges to three private thermal plants set up during the previous SAD-BJP government.

Of this, almost Rs 5,700 crore had been paid without getting any supply, he had said. PTI CHS VSD HRS hrs

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