The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has marginally hiked the power tariff for domestic consumers for 2016-17 and marginally brought down the tariff for industrial users. The revised tariff will be effective from November 1. Meanwhile, there has been an almost 10 per cent rise in the total fixed energy charges. As against the 2.25 per cent increase proposed by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) in overall energy charges for 2016-17, the commission has allowed a 1.49 per cent rise. Similarly, as against the MSEDCL’s proposed hike in overall energy charges of 8.91 per cent for 2017-18, the commission has allowed a rise of 2 per cent.
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The tariff for industrial units on express feeder has been reduced to Rs 7.13 from the current Rs 7.92 per unit while charges for industries on non express-feeders has been pushed down to Rs 7.13 from Rs 7.37 per unit. However, there has been a marginal increase in fixed demand charges for both domestic and industrial consumers.
The fixed/demand charges payable by most categories of consumers have been increased to some extent so that they cover a larger proportion of fixed costs than at present. So, for domestic consumers, the fixed charges have been increased by Rs 5 per month vis-a-vis Rs 25 that had been proposed by the MSEDCL.
After a public consultation process, in which several consumer representatives also participated, the Commission has determined tariff of MSEDCL for the financial year 2016-17 to FY 2019-20, in its order dated November 3.
As against the total revenue gap of Rs 56,372 crore estimated by the MSEDCL for the current year to FY 2019-20, the commission has determined a much lower total revenue gap of Rs 9,149 crore.
“Overall, it was a good order by the MERC,” said Vivek Velankar, founder of Sajag Grahak Manch, adding, “For the first time, it has been accepted that the MSEDCL has been cheating consumers by showing less transmission and distribution losses”.
The Commission has not accepted MSEDCL’s assessment of agriculture category sales, which it considers to be overestimated. Instead, after analysing the energy accounting data for separated agricultural feeders, it has determined the circle-wise agricultural consumption index to estimate the sales.
On that basis, the Commission has restated the distribution loss as 16.36 per cent in FY 2014-15 and 18.24 per cent in 2015-16.
Meanwhile, the tariff of the agriculture category has increased slightly, but will still meet only a little above the 50 per cent of the Average Cost of Supply (ACoS).