Thursday, November 2, 2006

Yet another Eyewash.....Hike in Electricity Tariff

Sometimes, I feel what the Government is doing? Is the Government trying to fool its people by giving lame excuses? Or is it because of single party system of governance that has made the policy makers to think that they can impose anything on the people by giving illogical justification or is it that the people of this state really lacks awareness and always eager to take whatever is served on the platter without asking any questions?

Sample this, what the Government has to say regarding the recent hike in electricity tariff:

"......tariff was last revised during the year 2004 for all categories of consumers......... but in case of Arunachal, it was revised after a gap of six years (isn't it say around 2 years if revised during 2004 :-O), which was not sudden."

-Echo of Arunachal dated 28-10-2006.

On being asked about what extra facilities would be extended to the consumers on account of hiked tariff, the Government said:

".....had already taken up steps to provide electronic meters free of cost to the consumers under accelerated power development and reform project............ improvement in quality and reliability of power by taking up system improvement schemes with resources raised from the revenue earned with new tariff............ introduction of computerised billing and accounting systems"

-Echo of Arunachal dated 28-10-2006.

I fail to understand the reasoning behind hiking the tariff - the reason being it was not revised for past 6 years and hence the need to revise it. (Indeed a good logic, eh!)

And I pooh pooh the take of Government on extra facilities to be provided to the consumers by taking up system improvement, free energy meters, computerised billing etc. from the revenue earned from the new tariff system.

Doesn't APDRP (Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme) looks after all of the above? Does APDRP covers only the free energy meters? Let's see..

Introduced during February 2000 in the name of APDP (Accelerated Power Development Programme) to revive the financial heath of sick SEB's and State owned power sector and rechristened as APDRP (Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme) during the year 2002-03, the objectives of APDRP are:
  1. Improving financial viability of State Power Utilities
  2. Reduction of Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT & C) losses to around 10%
  3. Improving customer satisfaction
  4. Increasing reliability & quality of power supply.

Schemes undertaken under APDRP are for renovation and modernisation of sub-stations, transmission lines & distribution transformers, augmentation of feeders & transformers, feeder and consumer meters, high voltage distribution system (HVDS), consumer indexing, SCADA, computerised billing etc.

The projects approved and sanctioned under this Programme is funded by Union Government in the form of additional central assistance over and above the normal Central Plan Allocation of the State. In the case of North-Eastern States, which comes under special category state, 90% of project cost is financed by the Union Government in the form of grant and remaining 10% as soft loan.

In order to improve the system, the State Government has got 4 nos. of projects with project cost of Rs. 85.99 Crores sanctioned under this APDRP programme and a fund of Rs. 36.68 Crores has already been released by the union Government so far for these 4 projects, of which the State Government were only able to utilize Rs. 2.77 crores till Ninth Report on Implementation of APDRP was filed in the parliament. Where has the un-utilised fund gone?

Now, if schemes can be undertaken for power system improvement and modernisation under APDRP and the Union Government is funding the projects sanctioned for system improvement and modernisation, where is the question of utilising the revenue earned through hiked tariff in system imrovement? Isn't it yet another eyewash on the part of Government to siphon off the public money? Or is it the resource to cover up for the mismanaged fund?


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