Punjab Chief Captain Amarinder Singh today convened a high-level meeting to discuss the industrial power tariff issue and directed two of his senior cabinet colleagues to meet the industry tomorrow to address their concerns on fixed tariff to facilitate early implementation of the Rs 5/unit promise of the government.Power Minister Rana Gurjit and Finance Minister Manpreet Badal have been asked to talk to the industry captains in an effort to resolve their demands for non-retrospective implementation of fixed tariff on power, along with various other matters relating to industrial power rates.An official spokesperson said after today’s meeting that the Chief Minister had taken serious note of the problems being faced by the industry, including the power tariff burden resulting from imposition of fixed tariff by the regulator. Captain Amarinder made it clear at the meeting that he would not brook further delay in the implementation of his promise for industrial power tariff being fixed at Rs 5/unit, said the spokesperson, adding that the government was keen to make the new power structure a reality by January 1, 2018.Among the key issues discussed at the meeting, and expected to be taken up tomorrow with the industry, is the retrospective implementation of fixed tariff from April 1, 2017, as announced by Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC).
With a financial implication of Rs 600 crore, if accepted in its current form, the retrospective implementation of fixed tariff has been opposed by the industry, which wanted more time to correct their industrial loads.The Chief Minister noted that while many of the industries in the state had managed to reduce their loads, the smaller (particularly the sick) units that ran for short durations only had been badly hit by the new 2-part tariff structure. These units had requested capping the rate, which the two ministers would discuss at their meeting tomorrow with the industry.Asserting his commitment to providing electricity at variable cost of Rs 5 per unit to industry, as per the Congress manifesto promise, Captain Amarinder said the government was planning to subsidise to an extent the difference resulting from the imposition of the fixed charge by the regulator.The Chief Minister, according to the spokesperson, had also directed the concerned officials to take up with the regulator the issue of co-generation and sick units, so that the impact of the new two-part tariff scheme on them could be minimised.Prominent amongst those present in the meeting included Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Power Minister Rana Gurjit Singh, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Addl. Chief Secretary, Power Satish Chandra and Chairman-cum-Managing Director PSPCL & PSTCL A. Venu Prasad.