THE issue regarding payment of additional security for power and illogical electricity duty is snowballing into into a major storm. Trade and industry in Punjab is resorting to agitation as the additional security issue is keeping consumers on tenterhooks.
The supply code prepared by the Punjab State Regulatory Commission is to be implemented from January 1. Under this code, there is a provision for the review and payment of additional security. The relevant text in this regard reads: “For existing consumers, the licensee will undertake the first such review of security (consumption) (earlier called advance consumption deposit), within twelve months after revision of tariff subsequent to the date of enforcement of the supply code.”
It is clear that question of additional security will arise only within 12 months of the tariff order after January 1. Some sections of Punjab State Electricity Board(PSEB) have spread panic among the consumers that additional security provision is going to be implemented from January 1.
As per the provision, consumers who get monthly bill, have to deposit security which is twice the amount of consumption. For those consumers who get bimonthly bills have to deposit three times the consumption of one month as additional security. Regulatory Commission has provided for interest on the security.
Even when Punjab was reeling under severe power shortage in 1980s and new projects were starting, this duty was not revised, laments P D Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry(Punjab).
Mr Sharma said that the Punjab government had changed the basis of this duty from specific to ad valorem in 2003. Firstly, it was around 5% and later raised to 10%.
At present, industrial consumers are paying electricity duty of 40 paisa per unit. There is no octroi in the state but there is octroi of 4 paisa on a unit of power. Therefore, the industry has to bear 44 paisa as tax on electricity duty which has no basis at all, he averred