Discoms await govt. nod to file ARRs with tariff revision proposal

Last time, ARRs were formally filed for 2018-19 tariff years

With the time running out fast for the filing of annual aggregate revenue requirement (ARR) for the 2021-22 tariff year, the two power distribution companies in the State are awaiting the government go-ahead for taking up the statutory exercise with hope for nod to tariff revision.

The two power utilities in the distribution business – Southern Discom and Northern Discom – have already done their home work and have proposed revision of the tariff to reduce the burden of losses and to meet the increasing costs of variables. It was for 2018-19, the Discoms have filed their ARRs formally last time and the regulatory commission has issued tariff order before the commencement of the tariff year.

Since then, there has been no formal filing of ARRs for 2019-20 and 2020-21 due to various reasons – because of elections to the Assembly, Lok Sabha and local body elections in 2018 and 2019 first and due to the COVID-19 pandemic later in 2020.

Refusing to divulge the details of the extent of revision proposed, a senior official of a power utility said: “We are waiting with our fingers crossed to get the government nod for increase in tariff, which is unchanged for the domestic and commercial consumers since 2016-17 and for a few other other categories since 2018-19.”

The official, however, admitted that the revision proposed by them was more than the average increase of 7.5% effected in the 2016-17 tariff.

The senior executive explained that it is inevitable to revise the tariff in the wake of increase of all costs linked to power generation, transmission and distribution over the last four years. “Besides, 2021-22 tariff year is the only window available before the government to allow the Discoms to hike tariff to some extent or the other as it may not take the revision call for the tariff year 2022-23 with Assembly elections due before December 2023, although the tariff year ends with March 31 that year,” the executive pointed out.

Further, tariff revision is also unavoidable, irrespective of it being passed on to the consumer, as the Discoms continue to remain in the red owing to operational losses in spite of their debt burden being taken over by the State government under the provisions of the Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY), the official felt.

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