Soon after the opposition political parties started protesting the hike of the power tariff, Tripura Power Minister Ratan Lal Nath said that the significant surge in global gas prices has imposed an additional strain on the state-owned Tripura State Electricity Corporation Limited.
Consequently, the Tripura Electricity Regulatory Committee found it necessary to implement an increase in power tariffs.
During the briefing at the civil secretariat, Minister Nath clarified that despite the tariff adjustment, the state-owned power Distribution Company will continue to operate at a deficit due to the substantial gap between revenue generation and expenditures. Nevertheless, he expressed optimism about recuperating these losses and transforming TSECL into a profitable government enterprise.
This will be achieved through initiatives such as streamlining billing processes and timely interventions to curb theft.
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Minister Nath pointed out, "During the tenure of the Left, tariffs were revised multiple times in the fiscal years 2006-07, 2010-11, 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15, resulting in an aggregate tariff increase of 134 per cent. Thereafter, no adjustments were made until 2023. Following a rigorous process, including public hearings, addressing objections, and consulting consumers and advisory bodies, a seven per cent increase was mandated by the regulatory body. Neither TSECL nor the Power Department possesses the authority to alter energy rates. Yet, despite this, the opposition CPIM, which governed the state for an extended period, has levelled allegations against us," Nath told to reporters.
Elaborating on the key factor behind the price surge, Nath emphasized, "Previously, we procured gas at 2.90 US dollars, roughly equivalent to Rs 238.32 per MMBtu (Metric Million British Thermal Unit). However, in 2022-23, prices soared to 8.57 US dollars, translating to Rs 704.29 in Indian currency. This marks a staggering 196 per cent increase in the cost of gas, which is essential for thermal power production. Unlike other states relying on hydroelectric or alternative power generation systems, our energy production units are gas-based, leaving us vulnerable to such fluctuations."
Minister Nath also assured consumers that despite the adjustment, there is no need for undue concern. "The TERC has stipulated that consumers who settle their bills within seven days of receiving a fresh statement will receive a flat five per cent rebate. Effectively, for diligent consumers, the rise amounts to only two per cent, as they benefit from a five per cent rebate for prompt payment. While this will impact TSECL's financials, consumers will ultimately reap the benefits," he affirmed.
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