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Punjab power regulator PSERC today said the SAD-BJP led state government owed Rs 717.05 crore as unpaid power subsidy to utility PSPCL, which has been pending for 2011-12 and 2012-13 and should pay it immediately.
"Government of Punjab is advised to make payment of the unpaid subsidy of Rs 304.66 crore for 2011-12 and Rs 412.39 crore for financial year 2012-13 immediately," the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) said in its new tariff order for 2013-14, which was announced here. Significantly, the "cash-strapped" Punjab government is required to pay power subsidy in advance in 12 monthly installments.
To woo farmers major vote bank for SAD (B) party, the ruling combine SAD-BJP led Punjab government has been giving free power to about 10 lakh farmers in the state. In addition to it, free power supply up to 200 units per month is also being given to 5 lakh BPL and 18 lakh SC families in the state.
The subsidy burden arising out of free power is paid by the state government to state power utility Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) and commitment in this regard is to be made by the state government with power regulator before the announcement of new power tariff. In the tariff order, the Commission while reviewing year 2012-13 said the Punjab government paid Rs 5,059.39 crore out of total amount of determined subsidy of Rs 5,471.78 crore.
The subsidy amount of Rs 5,471.78 crore also includes interest on delayed payment of subsidy (Rs 133.58 crore) and interest on unpaid amount of subsidy (Rs 273.88 crore). "..the balance subsidy and interest payable by government of Punjab for the year 2012-13 works out at Rs 412.39 crore," said the Commission.
The Commission in the order further said that an amount of Rs 304.66 crore is also outstanding for the year 2011-12. "This (Rs 304.66 crore) is inclusive of interest of Rs 30.78 crore worked out at 11.24 per cent being the weighted average rate of interest on the loan portfolio of the utility for 2012-13," the order said. In the tariff order, the power subsidy for free supply to farmers (Agricultural Pumpsets category) and energy supply of up to 200 units per month to SC domestic consumers and non-SC BPL domestic consumers is worked out at Rs 5,607.42 crore for 2013-14.
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