The Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission will hold a final public hearing on Friday regarding the petition filed by electricity supply companies against the proposed new electricity rates set to be effective from April 1, 2024. Several stakeholders, who raised objections during the hearing, will present their case before the commission’s bench. Following the hearing, the regulatory commission will reserve its order.
The power supply companies have proposed an increase in retail electricity rates up to 40 paise per unit. However, most consumers are opposed to the rate hike and have demanded a rollback of the doubled fixed charges imposed previously. The commission conducted hearings in Motihari, Purnia, Bihar Sharif, and Sasaram, and will announce the new rates based on the feedback and suggestions received during the hearing in Patna on Friday.
The primary reason behind the escalating electricity costs in Bihar is attributed to the Bihar State Power Transmission Company projecting an annual revenue requirement of ₹1,858 crores for the fiscal year 2024-25. This represents a 14% increase compared to the estimated expenditure of ₹1,627 crores in 2023-24. Additionally, Bihar Grid Company Limited has forecasted an 11.5% higher expenditure of ₹603 crores for 2024-25 compared to ₹540 crores in 2023-24. The burden of these increased costs will ultimately fall on consumers, who may face an additional charge of 70 paise per unit.
After the hearing on Thursday, the Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission reserved its order on the petition related to the revenue requirement and determination of transmission and dispatch charges for Bihar State Power Transmission Company Ltd., Bihar Grid Company Ltd., and State Load Dispatch Center for the fiscal year 2024-25. Various stakeholders, including Bihar Industries Association and Chamber of Commerce, participated in the hearing. The commission directed the stakeholders to submit their objections to the company by February 5, and the order on these objections will be reserved on February 6.
During the hearing, stakeholders expressed concerns about higher transmission charges in Bihar compared to other states, contributing to the rising cost of electricity. Some suggested that the state government should acquire the ₹600 crore equity of Power Grid Corporation to save ₹250 crores annually and alleviate the burden on consumers. The transmission and grid company officials emphasized the need for increased funds to ensure better infrastructure, including ₹10.5 crores for cybersecurity and operations, ₹10.27 crores for improved scheduling and management, and approximately ₹44 crores for automatic system balancing.
The ongoing developments suggest that consumers in Bihar may face challenges in managing increased electricity costs, prompting discussions on the need for a more efficient and cost-effective power distribution system.