Steep power tariff hike in UP, domestic, rural consumers worst hit

Lucknow, June 1 (IANS) Power tariff has been hiked quietly by a whopping 40 percent in Uttar Pradesh. This is the steepest hike in the history of the state. The decision was taken by the State Regulatory Commission late Friday.

Officials confirmed that the hike would come into effect in a week's time. The biggest hike has been effected in the rural sector, which would now have to pay 45 percent more for electricity; domestic tariff has been upped 35 percent.

The only sector to be spared is industry, which will continue to get power at the present price.

With the new tariff structure coming into force next week, rural connections would come at Rs.180 instead of the present Rs.125. Other than this, farmers would have to shell out Rs.100 per horse power, a Rs.25 increase on the existing tariff.

For domestic consumers paying Rs.3.45 per unit, power would now be priced at Rs.4 per unit.

Sources said that the state government was aware of the political damage of the power tariff hike, but quietly gave the green signal for it to the regulatory commission late Thursday.

The state is faced with an acute power shortage. Unscheduled power rostering has become a law and order issue, with power men and police being beaten up by irate mobs at many places.

The state government was trying to devise ways to wriggle out of the huge losses left behind by the previous Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government, and it was decided that effecting a power price hike through the regulatory commission was a "safe way" out.

Chairman of the UP State Power Consumer Council Avdhesh Kumar Verma came down heavily on the hike, saying it should be opposed tooth and nail.

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