21 October, 2020

Candle-Light Vigil

The consumer is caught in the grip of power monopolies

Narendra Bisht
Candle-Light Vigil

People don’t seem to realise that part of the electricity they consume costs over Rs 11 per unit simply because someone is making a quick buck. Unscrupulous traders are selling to distribution companies at about Rs 7 per unit. After adding distribution costs and transmission and distribution losses of 30 per cent, the delivered cost crosses Rs 11. Such profiteering in an essential commodity like electricity would have normally attracted strong reactions but it has not happened primarily because distribution companies blend this high-cost electricity with cheaper supplies from dedicated sources and the impact is thus diffused. This would, however, lead to ever-higher consumer tariffs with each passing year.

According to the latest Economic Survey, traders sold 2,192 crore units in 2008-09 at an average price of Rs 7.29 per unit as compared to Rs 3.14 in 2005-06, implying a rise of 132 per cent in just three years. In addition, over 2,150 crore units were ‘traded’ through Unscheduled Interchange (UI) at an average price of...



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