The consumers in Jammu and Kashmir is grappling with a significant issue of getting electricity bill higher than last month– by the recent power fee hike in non-metered areas.
The kashmir region, with approximately 11 lakh power connections, witnesses a unique challenge, as around 70% of these connections fall under the non-metered category. This surge in power fees has raised eyebrows and concerns among the residents.
If a household was previously receiving an electricity bill of 920, the new bill after the 41% hike would amount to 1300, reflecting the significant impact of the tariff increase on consumer expenses.
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Non-metered areas refer to regions where electricity consumption is not accurately measured through traditional meters. In Jammu and Kashmir, a substantial majority of households fall into this category, making them susceptible to changes in power tariffs.
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.
The recent hike in power fees has led to a surge in utility bills for these non-metered consumers, leading to financial strain, the increase in power fees also left many residents of non-metered areas struggling to manage their household budgets.
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 on 5th of December 2023.
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.