The hike in the rates of power for all categories of industrial consumers by 8 paise per unit has created an uproar among the city businessmen. They are of the view that the hike will lead to an increase in the cost of production.

The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) on Monday evening had hiked the rates of power for all categories of industrial consumers by 8 paise per unit. In addition to this, the fixed charges to have been hiked for the industry.

Upkar Singh Ahuja, president of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), “Punjab has imposed a hike in electricity charges via a circular issued by the PSERC on Monday. This increment, which seems mere 8 paise on paper, will have huge repercussions on the industry as it will prove to be a huge burden on the MSME sector. Presently, the industry is passing through a very crucial time due to GST implementation, demonetization, groundwater drawing permission and also due to competition in international as well as domestic markets.”

“The hike in power rates will lead to the increased cost of production for us and as we are already are working on very small margins, we will have to incur heavy losses by selling our products at current prices. Electricity is an essential raw material for all types of industry, especially steel production units and the burden of tariff increase will be a great setback to them,” he added.

According to Pankaj Sharma, general secretary of CICU, “Industries are facing heavy production losses due to electricity breakdown at odd hours, but Punjab State Power Corporation Limited has done very little to provide uninterrupted power supply to the industry and instead the power rates have been hiked for us. Our association has been requesting the PSPCL as well the Punjab government to reduce the electricity charges for the industry to make the industry more competitive. But instead of reducing the charges the government has put additional burden on industry by issuing new tariff rates.”

CICU also questioned the timings of the order and the office-bearers claimed that this order had come immediately after the general elections. They also said the government wanted to fulfill its poll promises of providing free power to the agriculture sector but by putting the burden on the industry.

News Source: Economic Times