Electricity tariff hiked by up to 30 paise a unit in Karnataka

Published : June 10, 2021 13:46 IST

At the public hearing conducted by KERC on an ESCOM’s plea for a hike in power tariff, in Mysure in February. Photo: M.A. Sriram

The people of Karnataka, already reeling under financial distress because of COVID-19, were in for a rude shock when they woke up on Thursday morning to find out that the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) had increased the electricity tariff in the State. The tariff of each unit of electricity across different slabs has been hiked by up to 30 paise a unit. Coming on the back of recent increases in essential food commodities such as pulses and vegetables and the hike in petrol and diesel prices, the additional need of setting aside a larger sum for the electricity bill every month will add to the burden of the common man. The price of petrol has already crossed Rs.100 a litre in parts of Karnataka.

The hike in tariff will be retrospectively implemented from April 1, although consumers have been given the option to pay the additional tariff incurred in the months of April and May until November this year. The KERC justified this hike citing the severe losses to the tune of Rs. 1819.38 crore that have been incurred because of COVID-19 last year. The different Electric Supply Companies (ESCOMs) in the State had asked for a tariff hike of up to Rs.1.35 per unit but the KERC agreed to a hike of only up to 30 paise a unit.

Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the Indian National Congress criticised the move. “The reasons cited by the State government for the hike in prices are not convincing. If the power companies in the State are facing a loss, it is because of maladministration, corruption and the wooing of private companies,” Siddaramaiah said. He also added that if the “anti-people hike” was not withdrawn, the Congress would organise a State-wide protest.

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