As the curtain draws on 2013, this political power hungry nation seems equally hungry for the electrical power. And the most stunning part of the recent development is the ongoing fight not just for the electricity but for cheaper electricity this time. This is the impact of the debutante Arvind Kejriwal coming to power in Delhi slashing down the power tariff by fifty percent fulfilling his promise.
In the series, the first day of 2014 witnessed a spark within the Mumbai Congress where the leader of the ruling Congress Sanjay Nirupam stressed the demand for a cut in power tariff on the line what Arvind did in Delhi.
Before this, the incumbent Congress government in Haryana announced a rebate of Rs 200 on power bills the very day the AAP announced it in Delhi. Furthermore, the Haryana government also promised not to increase the power tariffs in next two years. The whole exercise would cost the state exchequer approximately Rs. 540 crores annually. This tariff-cut by the Congress will help to betray the rising anxiety among grassroots level Congress workers. Undoubtedly it is a crude attempt to outdo AAP rather than a sincere effort to reorganize the tariff structure and make power cheaper for people of Haryana; still it is in the favor of the aam aadmi.
If the AAP impact gets viral, Bihar would be the next halt for this demand of cheaper electricity as this power hungry state has witnessed a manifold increase in tariff structure since Nitish Kumar resorted to purchase power to fulfil the need back home. Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Limited (BSPHCL) has proposed to increase the electricity tariff by 55% for all categories of consumers in the next financial year. The BSPHCL sent a proposal to the Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC) on November 15.
While Nitish Kumar seems relaxed by signing a host of MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) from private players to the promising electricity providing state, there are two things which are sure to pester him in 2014.
First, the per capita energy consumption in Bihar still stands at 117 kWh in comparison to the national average of 813 units clearly denies his claim for face-lifting of this poor state. In the last six years, the demand for electricity in the state has grown at an annual rate of about 8 percent.
However, the power supply position has been very inadequate, leading to a very high peak demand deficit. As per the report of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the anticipated peak deficit will be around 31.0 percent and energy requirement deficit 20.2 percent for 2012-13. Gujarat is the only state in India right now which has surplus energy to sell in the market. In these circumstances it is everyone but the government that believes that the purchased power will be costlier manifold than if it would have self-produced it.
Second, due to inept and corrupt bureaucratic practices everything is getting costlier in the state. The power tariff is being raised to balance the revenue deficit which is swelling because of bad credits with minister’s bungalows, university and hospitals etc. The Patna University alone owes more than Rs. 45 crores to it.
Throughout Patna about 2.3 lakh people are living in roadside encroachments, illegal shelters, makeshift arrangements and the urban BPL houses. The department never gets a penny from them. Instead of putting a check at these menaces the department opts the easy way hiking the tariff.
But, if the AAP phenomena get viral (which is almost sure to happen) in Bihar too, Nitish will sure get a power shock this election year 2014.
The above statistical figure has been prepared by the best minds of management engineers who know that the minimum requirement of a common middle class home surpasses the limit of 200 units per month. In any city like Patna, the minimum requirements for a normal lifestyle covers the basic requirement of Fan, Blower, Refrigerator, TV and often the ACs too. And hence most of the metered house consumes 350-500 units per month.
With a sure hike in tariff rates, most of the citizens will witness a basic rate of Rs. 7 per unit and with FPPCA and other taxes it will be near 8.35 per unit. This is the power of the aam aadmi and the power tariff for that very aam aadmi.