The Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam (GUVNL) on Saturday decided to increase fuel surcharge by 10 paise on every unit of power consumed with an effect from October 1, 2021. The decision will result in an increase in the electricity bills for all categories of consumers, excluding agriculture in the state.
GUVNL has been buying expensive electricity from the power exchanges (around Rs 15-17 per unit) to cope up with the power shortage. GUVNL has raised Fuel and Power Purchase Price Adjustment Charges worth 50 paise per unit for the second quarter – July-September, 2021-22.
However, any increase in the fuel surcharge or FPPPA beyond 10 paise per unit requires approval from the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Authority (GERC). Hence, it has decided to levy FPPPA at Rs 2 per unit from October 1, 2021.
“Since the increase in FPPPA for the second quarter of the financial year 2021-22 is 50 paise per unit, which is more than 10 paise per unit, approval of Honourable Commission (GERC) has been sought for recovery of balance FPPPA of 40 paise per unit,” GUVNL stated in its notification.
The consumers are currently paying a fuel surcharge of Rs 1.9 per unit which after the spike will increase to Rs 2 per unit of power consumed.
“GUVNL has faltered in purchasing expensive power from the power exchanges this year. The burden now falls on the consumers. The Plant Load Factor (PLF) of state-run lignite power plants remains at just 10 per cent, while thermal power plants are operating at 30 per cent of their capacity,” said a city-based energy and regulatory expert, KK Bajaj.
“GERC has put a ceiling of FPPPA charges at Rs 2.1 per unit. It remains to be seen if the regulatory authority permits recovery that goes beyond this ceiling rate,” he added.
However, the spike in fuel surcharge will not apply to agricultural consumers or farmers as the state government heavily subsidises the power consumed by the consumers of this sector.