Power tariff reduced

| 27 March 2002 14:57 IST

Unlike several states in the country, the Bharatiya Janata Party government here has reduced the power tariff from April, while fresh Assembly polls are ahead.


The average reduction is around seven per cent, though the commercial and industrial sector benefits more with almost nine per cent reduction while the domestic tariff is reduced by only five per cent.

The agriculture sector has also benefited with almost 20 per cent reduction, as the rates are brought down to only Re 1 from Rs 1.25 per unit. The domestic user will also now pay only Re 1 for the first 60 units consumed - a rise of 10 units.


"Our Goan domestic consumer is already highly subsidised and it cannot be lowered further", claims chief minister Manohar Parrikar. Goa largely purchases power from the National Thermal Power Corporation, besides a mini private power project.


According to power minister Digambar Kamat, the department has gone for reduction in order to pass on the profits made by the department as a result of his power revision policy. This is the first time it has generated a revenue of around Rs 430 crore against total expenditure of Rs 396 crore.


He expects further rise in revenue next year, around Rs 505 crore, with profitability shooting up to 25 per cent. In spite of reducing the tariff by seven per cent, he also expects 15 per cent growth in the revenue.


Due to drastic reduction and rationalisation of various slabs in the commercial sector, Kamat also expects more industry to come in while the existing industry may also enhance its production.


From the normal tariff rates between Rs 2.80 to Rs 4.35 per unit, the new revision policy has fixed several slabs of tariff between Rs 2.75 to Rs 4. Besides small hotels, shops and establishments, it will also benefit the extra high-tension sector like steel melting units.


While the Congress these days attacks the BJP for striking a deal with the power guzzling steel units, the cabinet today decided to drastically reduce the tariff for the consumption of above 500 units per mega watt from Rs 4.50 to Rs 2.50 per unit.


The chief minister however justifies the action, claiming that hardly any power guzzling unit was crossing the slab of 500 units, which may now begin with the revised tariff structure. He however points out that the heavy rate of demand charges imposed earlier to avoid theft still remains unchanged.


According to Kamat, the annual revenue generation from 24 power guzzling units during the Congress regime was hardly Rs 20.16 crore, while the state today earns Rs 60 crore from 15 units, who are still continuing with the production while some have vanished.


With a faulty power policy and concessions thrown at the power guzzlers, the department had started making losses since 1990. As a result, one former power minister Mauvin Godinho was even arrested in a multi-crore power rebate scam while the high court had banned release of power to any industry since May 1998.


Besides taking major steps to improvise the power situation in the state, Goa also started selling surplus power from the allocated NTPC quota. The tourist state however still pays around Rs 2.2 million every day for around 1.5 million surplus power, which remains unutilised.

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