Kerala Kaumudi Online
Monday, 27 May 2024 2.22 AM IST

Service charge hike; limited service but high rate


Although the service is not satisfactory at all, the electricity board is increasing the rates for all the services it provides to its customers. It is said that the increase is only 10 percent of the current rate, but when you get closer to the matter, you will understand that the new rates are even higher than that. The move to increase revenue by raising service charges is in addition to the frequent rate hikes for electricity, surcharges charged throughout the year and various other charges. It is said that the electricity board is facing a loss of one thousand crore rupees in a year. The service charges are being increased in the context of not being able to cover the losses even though the rates are increased as much as possible. It is estimated that around 300 crore rupees can be obtained through this. 720 crore has already been secured through the rate hike.

There will be an increase in the service charge for adding a post, change of meter, change of ownership, change of tariff, new connections etc. It is said that the service charges related to electricity connection had to be revised due to the increasing cost of goods. The Board has approached the Regulatory Commission to allow an increase of up to sixty percent in the service charges. However, fearing public anger, the commission only allowed a ten percent increase. It is indicated that the resulting increase
will be at least fifteen percent. About thirty lakh new connections have to be provided in a year. The board has to raise a huge amount of money for posts, wires, meters and other materials required for it. It should be collected from the customers.

As electricity has become an unavoidable item, consumers are forced to pay for it no matter how much they charge. From now onwards, connection charges will be charged on a kilowatt basis. Currently, the service charge is calculated based on the number of posts and line distance. The service charges have been increased by Rs 174 to Rs 2175. Taking into account the increase in electricity rates, the burden on consumers is increasing.

In some newly elected states, the main promise of the leading parties was to provide free electricity up to a certain unit. It was the newly born Aam Aadmi Party that came forward with such a promise for the first time in the country. They fulfilled this promise when they came to power with a huge majority in Delhi. Later it came into effect in states like Punjab and Karnataka where the opposition parties got a majority. Up to 300 units of electricity is free in Karnataka. In Kerala, which claims to be progressive in everything, the rates for all kinds of services are being increased frequently.

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