Ahead of a possible power tariff hike in the state, Assam government today announced a Rs 200- crore subsidy package for this year, which will benefit 26 lakh customers across the state.
"The cost of power production has gone up tremendously in the last 2-3 years. It is likely that the power regulatory commission will hike the tariff in the state. However, to give relief to the common people, we have decided to offer a Rs 200 crore subsidy in this year," Assam Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi told reporters.
He said BPL (below poverty line) families will be offered a rebate of Rs 1.10 per unit up to a maximum consumption of 30 units every month, while it will be Rs 0.70 a unit for up to 120 units a month for the APL (above poverty line) customers.
"This scheme will cover 10 lakh BPL families and 16 lakh APL customers across the state... This type of power subsidy will be offered for the first time in the state," Bordoloi said, adding that the maximum sanctioned load of the household has to be less than 5 KW only.
The Rs 200-crore subsidy will be provided to the Assam Power Distribution Company, which will adjust the monthly power bills accordingly, he said.
Talking about the power tariff, the Minister said the regulatory body is currently evaluating the scenario and a hike is imminent considering rising production cost in the last three years.
"The cost of natural gas has gone up by 165 per cent to Rs 5,091 per 1,000 standard cubic metre now from Rs 1,920 in 2012. Likewise, the coal price has also shot up by 85-150 per cent in this period," Bordoloi said.
The cost of hydro power generation is less compared to the other modes, but in this case also expenses related to transportation, transmission and other factors have increased by 30 per cent in since 2010, he added.
"In such scenario, it is very difficult to hold the power tariff. In fact, power rates are going up across the country. However, to give relief to the poor men, we are offering the subsidy," Bordoloi said.