State-owned power distribution companies (discoms) have become more punctual in the filing of annual tariff revision petitions before regulators, with the Centre putting pressure on states to undertake power reforms amid concerns about declining creditworthiness of the sector.
As many as 19 states have filed tariff petitions for 2013-14 with regulators and, of these, nine have already issued revised tariff orders. Last year, too, discoms in all states and union territories except Assam moved regulators for tariff revision.
“On electricity tariff, things are moving in the right direction,” said Shubhranshu Patnaik, director, Deloitte India. Sambitosh Mohapatra, an energy expert from PwC, too sounded bullish on the prospects of electricity tariff revision. “The increase in electricity tariffs in the region of 10-12% annually is going to be the recurring theme over the next three years given the current level of cost recovery,” Mohapatra said.
Tariff hike by states this year ranges from 22% to 25% for Andhra Pradesh to 0.78% for Madhya Pradesh. Haryana has increased electricity tariff by 13%, Punjab 9% and Bihar, Meghalaya, Nagaland by 7% each. Goa’s discom had also sought tariff hike but its proposal was rejected by the regulator.
Discoms in another 10 states, including debt-ridden Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, filed annual revenue requirement (ARR) petitions with regulators and are expected to revise tariff soon.
Regulatory activism on tariff revision in states like Tamil Nadu has raised new expectations about power sector reforms. Perhaps for the first time, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulator Commission initiated suo motu proceedings for revision of tariff this year due to delay in filing of ARR petition by the state discom.