CHENNAI/HYDERABAD: NTPC has agreed to supply the entire power of the soon-to-be-commissioned 500-Mw fourth unit of Simhadri project at Visakhapatnam to Andhra Pradesh in the next 3-4 month owing to the local supply-demand scenario, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy said here on Monday.
“I had spoken to the chairman of NTPC in this regard and he has agreed to my request,” the chief minister told reporters while explaining the power supply scenario and the reasons for increasing the tariff from April 1. The new Simhadri unit is expected to be connected to the state grid in a day or two.
Reddy defended the hike in power tariff stating the rise in fuel costs and the average cost to serve at the consumer end had resulted in a total revenue gap of Rs 11,000 crore, of which the state would bear a subsidy of Rs 5,533 crore during 2012-13.
The tariff order issued by the AP Electricity Regulatory Commission (Aperc) for the year is expected to generate an additional Rs 4,500 crore revenues to the kitty of the state power utilities after it raised the electricity rates across all categories, barring a few.
However, the chief minister announced a further subsidy of Rs 175 crore for domestic households that consume power within the two lower slabs – up to 50 units and 100 units a month – following the general demand for a roll-back in tariff by political parties.
With this decision, the consumers will pay Rs 1.45 per unit under the 0-50 unit slab and Rs 2.6 per unit under 50-100 unit slab even if an individual household exceeds the average demand of 500 watts a day. Earlier, the tariff regulator had clarified that these rates were applicable only if the household demand remained under 500 watts. For higher domestic slabs, the rates range from Rs 3.6 (101-200 unit slab) to Rs 7.75 per unit (beyond 500 units a month).
The rates have also been hiked by an average of Re 1 per unit for industrial consumers across categories.
“Andhra Pradesh is only state in the country that provides the highest amount of subsidy to the power sector even after effecting the tariff hike for the first time in the past eight years,” he said, adding, more than 74 per cent of the existing 24.36 million consumers, including farmers and poor, were unaffected by the tariff hike.
According to him, Tamil Nadu provides an annual power subsidy of over Rs 4,200 crore, Karnataka Rs 3,500 crore, Maharashtra Rs 3,000 crore and Gujarat Rs 1,100 crore.
On the power supply situation, the chief minister said the power cuts had become acute as the demand had increased to 296 million units (mu) a day as against the total average availability of 254 mu. The gas supply shortage, which had put about 1,200 Mw of installed gas power capacity in an idle state, had also aggravated the situation.
With the additional 500 Mw from Simhadri project and a purchase of 256 Mw from Haryana in addition to 220 Mw of expensive power being generated through RLNG swapping meant for small industries, the power supply would improve in the coming days, Reddy said.