Patna,(BiharTimes): In the steepest hike in the last many years the Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) on Friday increased the power tariff by an average of 55 per cent for various categories of consumers. Those living in rural areas, including the poor, have also not been spared.
The new rates will be effective from April 1, 2018.
Though the tariff for those Kutir Jyoti connections meant for below poverty line (BPL) households that have not been provided meters yet has been kept constant at Rs 350, the Kutir Jyoti connections that have got meters will be charged Rs 5.75 per unit for the first 50 units, Rs 6 per unit for 51-100 units and Rs 6.25 per unit for more than 100 units.
Announcing the new tariff slabs, BERC chairman S K Negi said the two power distribution companies functioning in the state, North Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (NBPDCL) and South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (SBPDCL), had proposed an overall (average) hike of 84 per cent for financial year 2017-18, but the Commission approved a hike of only 55 per cent.
He said the hike was without taking government subsidy into consideration as the Commission had not got information on availability of subsidy for the forthcoming financial year. If the government extends subsidy to power consumers the tariff structure could be scaled down, but it depends on how much subsidy will be announced, from when, and for whom.
The BERC did not approve the two distribution companies' proposal to hike miscellaneous charges like meter rent, fee for new connection, reduction or enhancement of load, disconnection, testing, inspection and installation charges. These will be reviewed next year.
There was no hike for the financial year 2016-17 that draws to an end on March 31. The last increase, in 2015-16, was 2.5 per cent on average. Before that, there was an increase of 6.9 per cent in 2012-13 and around 20 per cent in 2011-12.