Haryana : Gaurav Sampat Singh today argued before the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Comission (HERC) to roll back the Domestic Tariff order for 2013-14 with effect from April 1, 2013, the date on which it was made effective.
He lauded the Bhupender Singh Hooda led government’s action bailing out the Discoms by providing them financial support and rolling back the tariff order of 2013-14 but it was effective from January 1, 2014.
He pleaded that the earlier order put enormous burden on consumers through a quantum jump in the tariff leading to highly inflated energy bills which were beyond the paying capacity of the honest and law abiding consumers who had been paying their bills regularly. He said even these honest consumers had also stopped paying their bills and had became defaulters as they were not in a position to pay the arrears accumulated since April, 2013. Thus it was in the interest of the Discoms to roll back this tariff order with effect from April 1, 2013 to bring such consumers back in to the mainstream.
He appealed to the commission to reduce the existing tariff by 30 per cent in case of regular consumers and 50 per cent in case of consumers where pillar box systems had been installed. In the case of the latter the loss level was zero and being honest and regularly paying consumers their consumption had doubled resulting in two fold increase in tariff.
He also requested the Commission to direct the Discoms to replace the faulty meters which either ran faster or were not working. This would give much deserved relief to the regularly paying consumers.
Gaurav Singh also suggested drastic changes in the existing slab system. The existing 0-40 units per month slab were now redundant because of the needs of the consumers. This slab was useful for only those who suppressed their consumption as it was impossible to live within this consumption level. Thus 0-40 units slab should be replaced by 0-100 units per month and tariff should be at par with 0-40 i.e 298 paise per unit.
He expressed deep concern over the service cost of purchase (Rs. 6.50 per unit) whereas the cost of Power Purchase per unit was less then Rs 4 as projected in ARR of FY 2013-14. So nearly 65 per cent burden of tariff on consumers was only due to inefficiency and poor service which resulted in Rs 8300 Crore loss including TD & C losses, and arrears.
He also objected to the claim of return amounting to Rs. 450 Crore in the light of completely eroded equity which was not justified. He said the accumulated losses of Discoms stood at Rs. 25000 Crore and the Share Capital of Discoms was only Rs. 3100 Crore. So the entire equity had been eaten away by the accumulated losses. If Rs. 450 Crore were not returned, it would reduce the cost of service.
He questioned the HERC as to the reason for Rs. 5000 Crore subsidy being allowed for AP consumption whereas it was below Rs 5000 Crore in case of Punjab where the Tariff was Zero and the consumption double. Since there were 5 Lakh AP connections in Haryana as compared 11.50 Lac AP connections in Punjab this anomaly should be corrected.
Gaurav took a serious note of the statement of Discoms that Haryana had a high loss level of more than 27 per cent as compared to about 15 per cent in other neighboring states which was the main cause of high tariff as compared to other states. This showed the inefficiency of the Discoms. The consumers should not be made to pay for this inefficiency.
He said the Discoms had withdrawn the FSA of 34 paisa per unit. However, he asked the commission to withdraw the FSA from 17 paisa to 35 paisa per unit applicable with effect from December 1, 2013.
Gaurav said, the commission and the utilities had come under severe criticism from the political parties and the tariff issue had now become a political issue. He expressed surprise over the fact that political parties had carried out demonstrations against the tariff hike yet none of these parties had filed objections before the HERC.
He said we needed to take the commission and the utilities away from the political limelight and focus merely on consumers as they really constituted the state of Haryana.