No increase in tariff for 2022-23, says Odisha power regulator after 2 back-to-back hikes

BHUBANESWAR: After two successive hikes in power tariff during the Covid pandemic, the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission on Thursday announced that there will be no increase in tariff for the state’s 96 lakh retail consumers.OERC secretary Priyabrat Patnaik said the existing retail electricity tariff of ₹3 per unit for the first 50 units, ₹4.80 for 50-200 units, ₹5.80 for 200-400 units, ₹6.20 for above 400 units will continue for 2022-23.The commission said consumers who pay their electricity bills online will get a discount of 3% instead of the existing 2%. Rural domestic consumers who draw their power through the correct meter and pay the bill on time will get a discount of 10 paise per unit in addition to the existing rebate for prompt payment.Since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, the commission has raised the power tariff for domestic consumers twice, first in October 2020 and again in April 2021, by 50 paise per unit.Earlier. the four power distribution companies – TPCODL, TPNODL, TPSODL, TPWODL – that supply power had urged the OERC to raise the tariff projecting a revenue gap of ₹1192.37 crore for the year 2022-23.However, Odisha’s energy department last month argued against a tariff hike for retail consumers and asked the commission to take into account the surplus revenue of the four power distribution companies (DISCOMs) controlled by Tata Power.“The OERC was requested to direct the DISCOMs to bring down the aggregate technical and commercial losses faster so that consumers get the benefit of lower tariff,” an official of the energy department said.However, Odisha Janshakti Manch (OJM), a citizens’ group said that despite no hike in power tariff, consumers in the state were already paying more in comparison to people of other states of the country.“In Odisha, households consuming less than 200 units of electricity per month pay ₹945 while those in Andhra Pradesh pay ₹620. Households in Chhattisgarh pay ₹861 and people in Punjab pay ₹672…. Households in Tamil Nadu get 100 units of free electricity bimonthly,” said Ashok Kumar Nanda of OJM. He further said the power tariff in Odisha is very high as the rates are determined by the OERC in accordance with the estimation and projection of expenses provided by the distribution and transmission companies.“No audit has been conducted to find out the exact expenses and losses incurred by the DISCOMS. Like Delhi, where rates were reduced after an independent audit. a similar audit should be undertaken,” he said.

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