Within a week of the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka announcing the implementation of Gruha Jyoti — one of the five guarantees made during the run-up to the 10 May Assembly polls — the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) hiked the power tariff by ₹2.89 per unit, effective from June.
Consumers will have to pay ₹2.89 more per unit in June if they are in the more-than-200-unit slab. The government has made power free for those falling under the 200-unit slab.
The hike comprises two components.
The KERC approved the Fuel and Power Purchase Cost Adjustment (FPPCA) of ₹1.49 per unit, which will be levied from June.
Additionally, there is a ₹1.40 per unit carryover (70 each from April and May), taking the hike to ₹2.89 per unit.
On 12 May, on the eve of the Karnataka Assembly election results, the commission ordered a hike of 70 paise with effect from 1 April, 2023 — which will be charged from June.
Collecting the arrears
“The FFPCA for January 2023, which was to be billed in March, was not implemented due to billing issues and scarcity of time,” KERC Chairman Ravikumar said.
“The FFPCA of ₹1.49 per unit will be levied in June 2023 and ₹1.81 per unit will be charged from July 2023. The ₹1.40 per unit including 70 paise arrears of April will be added to the June bill. Thus, there will be an overall increase in consumer tariff for June is Rs 2.89 per unit,” he added.
”The commission has issued an order, dated 13 March, approving the FPPCA relating to the third quarter of FY23, to be recovered in the billing quarter April 2023 to June 2023,” said the KERC order copy dated 2 June.
The new tariff applies to all five electric supply companies (ESCOMs) of Karnataka: The Bengaluru Electric Supply Company, Mangaluru Electric Supply Company, Gulbarga Electric Supply Company, Hubballi Electric Supply Company, and the Chamundeshwari Electric Supply Company.
The commission has ordered the ESCOMs to recover the FPPCA for the third quarter of the fiscal year 2022-23 from July to December 2023, as opposed to the billing quarter of April to June 2023.
BESCOM will recover 51 paise per unit between July to September 2023 and 50 paise per unit between October and December 2023. Similarly, MESCOM will recover 47 paise per unit between July to September and 46 paise per unit between October to December 2023.
CESC will recover 41 paise per unit and 46 paise per unit between July to September and October to December, respectively. HESCOM will recover 50 paise per unit between July to December 2023.
GESCOM will recover 34 paise per unit and 33 paise per unit between July to September and October to December, respectively.
BJP protests tariff hike
On Monday, the state government announced the guidelines to avail the benefit of the Gruha Jyoti scheme. Under this scheme, domestic consumption of up to 200 units will be free but those using more than 200 units will have to pay the full bill.
BJP workers staged a protest on Tuesday against the decision to hike the power tariff at Freedom Park in Bengaluru.
“The state government should immediately withdraw the power tariff hike. The BJP condemns the Congress government increasing the burden of the people,” said BJP former minister and Malleshwaram MLA Dr CN Ashwath Narayan.
“This is an anti-people policy,” said BJP MP PC Mohan.
Ironically, the decision on the proposed hike in electricity fares came from the previous Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government in March this year.
The order implementing the decision taken in March and extended in May was implemented with further modification under the Congress government in June.
Netizens, too, lashed out at the state government for hiking the power tariff.