Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, May 31, 2004
Industry & Economy
CESC will get additional Rs 69 cr in arrears
Kolkata May 30
THE RPG-controlled power utility CESC Ltd will get Rs 69.1 crore additional revenue on account of collection of arrears on power bills for 2002-03 and 2003-04.
Taken together with the requirement for the current fiscal, CESC's revenue requirement for 2004-05 has been pegged at Rs 2,429.8 crore even as the cross-subsidy element in its tariff was reduced after the recent announcement of new tariffs for the years 2002-03 to 2004-05 by the West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBERC).
CESC had pegged its revenue requirement at Rs 2,432 crore on revenue of Rs 4.2 paisa per KW hour.
As per WBERC's recommended tariff structure, which is effective April 1, the average tariff stands at Rs 4.02 paise per KW hour compared with the present tariff of Rs 4.1.
However, low-tension domestic consumers who form the bulk of CESC's 18-lakh consumer base will bear the brunt of the new tariff structure paying enhanced rates. High-end domestic consumers with a consumption level of 500 units or more will however enjoy a lower tariff rate.
Sources said that 59 per cent of CESC's consumers buy less than 48 units every month. Their rate has been increased from Rs 2.28 to Rs 2.45 per unit.
The WBERC has made it clear in its order that CESC will start collecting arrears or give refunds from August spreading it out over a two-year period. Industrial tariffs have been lowered in general, but CESC sources said that the detailed structure was being worked out and would only be available next week.
CESC, which has a capacity of about 1,000 MW, serves the city and its vicinity, selling about 6,000 million units of power annually as a licensee of the West Bengal State Electricity Board (WBSEB). It imports power from the WBSEB to meet the peak evening demand.
The WBERC order provides for a special rebate for cold storage plants, especially those for fish, seafoods, potato and vegetables. The order said that the State Government was free to grant any subsidy to any consumer on the tariff decided by the Commission. The WBERC order contained a note on CESC's T&D losses by its Member (Technical), Mr N.C. Roy. He had said that in the matter of T&D loss no transparent policy has been followed by the CESC management.
"While 11 per cent is the technical loss in the CESC system, the balance claimed on account of T&D loss is the non-technical loss, which is a controllable element and reduction of which depends much on management effort," he had noted. CESC's present T&D loss is about 18.5 per cent
The State Minister for Power, Mr Mrinal Banerjee, however, has pleaded his helplessness in protecting the low-end consumer, even as he expressed his unhappiness with the WBERC order. He also felt that arrears collection should have been further spread out to ease the burden on consumers.
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