In Uttarakhand, consumers are bracing themselves for increased rates of electricity and water from April 1. The Uttarakhand Urja Nigam has sent a proposal to the Electricity Regulatory Commission to increase electricity rates by up to 12 percent, affecting 27.50 lakh consumers in the state. While the corporation had proposed a 17 percent increase, the commission reduced it to 12 percent. At the same time, the Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan has received approval from the government to increase water rates by 15 percent. As a result, consumers can expect their water bills to increase by Rs 150 to 200 per quarter across the state.
The increase in rates comes amid rising inflation and increasing costs of production and distribution. The pandemic has disrupted supply chains and impacted businesses, leading to higher prices of essential goods and services. The rising costs of electricity and water will add to the burden of consumers who are already struggling to make ends meet.
Last year, electricity rates were increased thrice in Uttarakhand, and consumers are now facing yet another hike. The surcharge on electricity bills was reduced to 6.5 percent, benefiting 20 lakh consumers in the state. However, the surcharge was imposed for seven months, and consumers will have to bear the cost till March 31, 2023. The UPCL had petitioned the Regulatory Commission for a sum of Rs 1,350 crore, leading to the imposition of the surcharge.
The Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan has defended the increase in water rates, stating that the cost of water bills increases every year. However, this will put an additional burden on consumers who are already struggling to pay their bills. The increase in rates will affect households, businesses, and industries, leading to higher costs of production and reduced profitability.
The increase in rates of electricity and water highlights the need for sustainable and affordable sources of energy and water. The government must invest in renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and lower the cost of electricity. Similarly, measures such as rainwater harvesting and water conservation can help reduce the cost of water bills and ensure sustainable use of water resources.
The opposition parties have criticized the government for the increase in rates, stating that it will further burden consumers who are already struggling to make ends meet. The government must take steps to alleviate the financial burden of consumers and provide relief measures to those who are affected by the hike in rates.