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Power consumers threaten strike against proposed tariff hike

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Reported by Sandeep Pattnaik

Bhubaneswar, Jan 31:

Orissa State Electricity Consumers Association has threatened to go on a state-wide strike alleging frequent hikes in power tariff in the state. Representatives of the association are scheduled to meet the officials of the State Government and Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission [OERC] today to draw their attention to the matter, sources revealed.

A meeting was held to this effect in the residence of former minister and the current President of the association Panchanan Kanungo on Thursday where members from different political parties and other representatives unanimously called for a mass demonstration, if the proposed tariff hike is not withdrawn, according to sources.

The meeting, presided over by senior journalist Rabi Das, alleged the four private discoms have failed to achieve their target that was set for them when the erstwhile Odisha State Electricity Board [OSEB]. Since them the common man has reeling under the burden of repeated tariff hike, the meeting noted.

It is to be noted that, the per unit cost of power in the state has witnessed several hikes in the past and there is proposal to increase the tariff again from the existing Rs 4.66 to Rs 7 per unit. The OERC is set to conduct a public hearing in this regard soon.

“The proposal for tariff hike in the name of reforms in the state is just an eyewash from the government. We condemn it and demand that it should put on hold the tariff hike proposal till the Comptroller and Auditor General [CAG] gives the real picture of profit and loss of the discoms through audit of their books of accounts,” the association claimed.

Various issued cropped up at the meeting held yesterday like free power to consumers up to 200 units of consumption, significant reduction of T&D losses by discoms, representation of general consumers in OERC, penalty on discoms failing to fulfil the target without sufficient reason, thrust on Renewable Energy [RE] like solar and wind etc, curbing frequent power cuts etc.

Besides, the association also decided to urge the government to ensure supply free of cost at least 15% of the total generation made by Central power companies which have set up their plants in the state and 20% in case of domestic power companies etc.