February 3, 2009 11:07:57 pm
If the amendment proposed in the Electricity (Duty) Act,1975,during the upcoming budget session is passed by the state Assembly,the new rates of electricity duties (ED) that would come into existence would further reduce the electricity bills of domestic consumers,while other categories like industries and commercial users would end up paying slightly more.
As per the changes proposed in the Electricity (Duty) Bill,2009,the duty charged from domestic consumers would be at the rate of 3 per cent of the total bill raised. The present ED rate is 6 paise per unit. For commercial consumers,agriculture,water pumping and other categories,the new ED rate would be 10 per cent of the bill,against the present rates of 24 paise,18 paise and 24 paise per unit,respectively.
The presently category for industries,for which the ED is 33 paise per unit,would be divided into small and large industries,which would have to pay 13 per cent and 16 per cent of the power bill,respectively. Three new categories for streetlights,temporary meters and bulk supply to consumers have been created,for which the duty would be 10 per cent.
The draft of the ED Bill,2009,which would repeal the existing Act of 1975,was approved by the state Cabinet recently. It proposes to impose electricity duty on consumers on ad-valorem basis,which means at the rate of a certain percentage of the electricity bill.
The proposed amendment has been recommended by a high-level committee of the government and also proposes to strengthen the office of chief electrical inspector by more stringent penal provisions.
When contacted,Chief Electrical Inspector Surya Kant agreed that the new bill will certainly have some duty rate and other changes,but refused to divulge any details.
Sources in the government reveal that this would turn out to be a clever move by the government,where the domestic consumers who consume within the first three slabs of 1-150 units,151-300 units and 300 units-above would pay only about one-fourth of the present electricity duty. Calculations also show that use of up to 800 units in domestic category would not increase the burden on the consumer,but as the units consumed exceed further,he would end up paying more than the present bill. However,an average household is not likely to be affected.
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