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Revised Karnataka power tariff from June bills; forced to implement hike, says Bescom MD

The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) revised the power tariff on May 12, raising it to an average 70 paise per unit for all household connections in the state and the order was given retrospective effect from April, officials said on Sunday.

Due to the revision of the tariff, an enhanced average 70 paise per unit will be collected in the June bills, said Bengaluru Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) Managing Director Mahantesh Bilagi. “We have been forced to implement this order,” he maintained.

Since this order was passed with a retrospective basis from April 1, arrears will be collected in the June bill.

The KERC also ordered for fixation of tariff in two slabs. According to the order, for consumption of the first 100 units, the revised energy charge is Rs 4.75 per unit and if consumption crosses 100 units, the energy charge is Rs 7 per unit. The consumer has to pay a flat Rs 7 per unit if consumption crosses 100 units.

Before tariff revision, energy charges were fixed in 3 slabs. According to earlier charges, for consumption of the first 50 units, the charge was Rs 4.15 per unit, for another 50 units, the energy charge was Rs 5.6 per unit and beyond 100 units, the energy charges were fixed at Rs 7.15 per unit, Bilagi said.

The KERC also revised fixed charges. For 1 to 50 KW sanctioned load, the fixed charge is Rs 110 and above 50 KW sanctioned load, it is Rs 210.

According to the Tariff Regulation Notification 2006 of KERC, all Escoms should file applications for seeking revision of tariff in November every year, and the KERC will hear the applications after inviting objections from all stakeholders and will issue the revision of the tariff order in March or the first week of April every year.

Revision of tariff would be a normal procedure of the KERC in accordance with its provisions. If Escoms have failed to file applications for revision of tariff, the KERC has suo moto power to revise the tariff.

The revision of the tariff order was supposed to be implemented in March/April, but due to the code of conduct announced for the Karnataka Assembly elections on March 29, the issuance of the tariff order was put on hold by the KERC.

However it was issued on May 12, with retrospective effect from April, Bilagi stated.

“Hence we have been forced to implement this order, 70 paise per unit to be collected from June billing with April’s arrears,” he added.

Earlier, the KERC has revised the tariff order on the following dates: November 4, 2020, tariff hike of 40 paise per unit; June 6, 2021, tariff hike of 30 paise per unit; and April 4, 2022, tariff hike of 35 paise per unit.

The KERC has also authorised all Escoms to collect Fuel and Power Purchase Cost Adjustment charges from the consumers if different amounts occurred while power purchase from power generators and revision of energy charges fixed by the KERC.

The KERC (Fuel and Power Purchase Cost Adjustment) Regulations, 2022 were notified on October 21, 2022 and published in the state Gazette on November 5, 2022.

Subsequently, the state power regulator issued an order dated December 22, 2022, in the matter of removal of difficulties in implementing the provisions of KERC (Fuel and Power Purchase Cost Adjustment) Regulations, 2022.

The Central government amended the Electricity Rules 2005 by Electricity Amendment Rules 2022, vide notification dated December 29, and rule 14 of it specifies “Timely recovery of power purchase cost by distribution licensee which provides for automatic pass-through of fuel and power purchase adjustment costs in the consumer tariff, on monthly basis.”

To implement the provisions of the amended rules, in the matter of automatic pass-through on a monthly basis, the KERC notification dated February 23, 2023 has issued the first amendment to KERC (FPPCA) Regulation 2022, and under this, Escoms will have to bill FPPCA as an automatic pass-through on a monthly basis in the retail tariff.

Following the KERC order, the FPPCA of 59 paise per unit will be collected from the consumers in the June bill, the BESCOM MD said.

The issue has taken a political turn as some social media users criticised that the Congress government for hiking the power tariff to support the free power scheme.

However, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah clarified on Sunday that as per the recommendation of the previous BJP government, the electricity tariff has been increased earlier.

“However,the BJP is spreading lies that we have increased the electricity rates,” he added.

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