Leaders of the Visakhapatnam Apartment Residents Welfare Association (VARWA) and the NIVAS (Visakha Residential Colony Associations’ Federation) have demanded that the government bear the ‘true-up’ charges, instead of taxing the electricity consumers.
A demonstration was staged jointly by the representatives of the two associations at the corporate office of the Eastern Power Distribution Company of AP Ltd. (AP EPDCL) at Seethammadhara here on Monday.
The participants, braving the incessant rain, held a banner and raised slogans opposing the recovery of charges from consumers and opposing electricity reforms. Later, a delegation of the VARWA and the NIVAS submitted a memorandum to the Chairman and Managing Director appealing to him to withdraw ‘true-up’ charges.
VARWA general secretary B.B. Ganesh and president N. Prakash Rao attributed the losses of the Discoms (distribution companies) to the purchase of power from private generation companies at higher prices and non-payment of subsidies by the governments for the schemes announced by them.
They noted that the losses were mainly due to the implementation of electricity reforms imposed by the Central government. They alleged that power purchase from public sector power companies like NTPC was reduced to force the Discoms to purchase power from private companies at higher prices.
They said that increasing the tariff for consumers during the pandemic time was inhuman. G.S. Rajeswara Rao of Jeevan Soudha Apartments, VARWA general secretary V.V. Prabhakar and NIVAS general secretary C. Narayana Murthy were among those who participated in the protest.
The VARWA and NIVAS leaders said it was distressing to note that ₹3,669 crore was being collected from people of the State towards ‘true-up’ charges.
The additional charges on consumers of the EPDCL are fixed at ₹0.42 paise a unit from September, 2021 to March, 2022. They expressed shock that an additional ₹2,452 crore would be collected from the consumers for additional losses incurred by Discoms during 2019-20. They expressed apprehensions that the ‘true-up’ charges would be levied continuously and become a part of power bills every month.