15% hike approved for non-metered electricity users in Kashmir

The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) has approved a 15 percent increase in power tariffs for non-metered consumers in Kashmir, affecting approximately 7 lakh users.

This decision follows the nod for a 30 percent tariff hike initially, but with the withdrawal of 15 percent electricity duty, the practical hike is now 15 percent, Srinagar based Greater Kashmir reported.

For metered consumers, the JERC initially greenlit a 15 percent tariff increase, which the Power Development Department (PDD) offset by waiving the 15 percent electricity duty, effectively nullifying any practical hike for these users.

The JERC explained its decision as a means to bridge the revenue gap, partially through government grants and partially via a reasonable tariff hike, aiming to avoid shocking consumers.

This increase for unmetered consumers aims to discourage non-metered connections and promote the adoption of prepaid smart meters.

Approximately 65 percent of Kashmir’s estimated 11 lakh power consumers are unmetered, meaning roughly 7 lakh consumers will feel the impact of this tariff adjustment. Initially, the KPDCL proposed a 100 percent hike for non-metered areas, but the JERC raised concerns about incomplete metering infrastructure.

Furthermore, the JERC emphasized that inefficiencies within the power sector cannot burden J&K consumers, urging immediate action to curb losses.

The JERC’s observations stemmed from targets set by previous schemes aiming for a turnaround in the power sector.

Previously, the Jammu Kashmir State Electricity Regulatory Commission (J&K SERC) handled regulatory functions for Jammu and Kashmir under the J&K Electricity Act 2010.

With the repeal of this act, the Electricity Act 2003 was applied to the Union Territories of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh, establishing the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission for these regions.

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