Come April and citizens are in for a triple blow in the form of increased power cuts, higher tariffs, and an additional FSA component. The increase in the electricity bill will be three to five times the current amount and even after that, citizens will have to put up with power cuts during the peak summer months. The power tariff hike proposed by the distribution companies or discoms, for which public hearings were held on Monday, will come as a big shock to middle-class consumers, should the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission rule in favour of the discoms. APERC’s decision is expected within a fortnight. The average household gets a power bill of Rs 500-Rs 1,000. This will most likely triple when the new tariff policy comes into play from April this year. Then there is the FSA component which is expected to inflate the bill further. Even a household that uses just basic electronic equipment will be affected.
To add insult to injury, the hefty bills will be accompanied by two to four hours of power cuts in city areas and up to 10 hours in rural areas. The state is currently suffering a power shortage of 90 MU (million units) per day and the shortage is only expected to grow. The preparedness plan drawn up by the energy department envisaged additional power of 1400 MW for the summer season, but the power shortage is already around 2600 MW per day. A family that uses roughly two fans, two tube-lights, one television, a grinder, phone charger and a washing machine, is likely to get a bill that is three times the amount it currently pays.
Citizens who run air-conditioners and inverters along with the other basic electronic equipment, are looking at a much higher bill. The state discoms have dealt consumers a severe blow by proposing to pass on a revenue deficit of Rs 12,723 crore to them. The four discoms together have estimated a revenue deficit of Rs 18,607 crore for the year 2013-2014. The state government has agreed to provide a subsidy of Rs 5,882 crore, leaving the rest to be passed on to consumers. Discom officials had said at the time of proposing the tariff hike for 2013-2014, that additional costs of short-term purchases for the year 2012-2013 have been incorporated, and as a result, no FSA is expected for the year 2013-2014. But experts say that nothing of that sort can be guaranteed.