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OERC hikes power tariff in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, March 24(IANS) – While people are reeling under the scorching summer sun with the mercury already reaching 39 degrees Celsius in most parts of the state, the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) on Tuesday announced a hike in power tariff in the state.

The tariff announced for the 2015-16 year will be effective from April 1 this year, said an OERC official.

While the regulator raised tariff for domestic category consumers by 20 paise per unit, tariff for electricity for the farming sector was hiked by 40 paise per unit — the first such hike in 15 years.

The average rise in retail supply tariff for 2015-16 is 4.64 percent over 2014-15, according to OERC.

Monthly minimum charges and meter charges, however, remain unchanged.

The Commission was forced to resort to a tariff hike due to a steep rise in coal prices and the Central Electric Regulatory Commission (CERC) directive to increase tariff, said OERC secretary G.K. Dhal.

The principal reason for tariff hike in 2015-16 is due to the pass through of Rs.740.72 crore towards past power purchase dues of NTPC by GRIDCO as per the CERC order dated 15 May 2014, said an OERC release.

It said the tariff hike in 2015-16 is also due to the increase in number of electricity consumers, inadequate generation of low-cost hydropower to meet growing demand and rise in cost of coal and furnace oil that ultimately led to increased generation cost.

Electricity consumers’ association president Ramesh Satapathy criticised the state government for the hike.

The state government had inked about 29 MoUs with power companies to generate thermal power. But only three companies are producing power. It has also failed in producing hydropower, said Satapathy.

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