Plan panel suggests hike in electricity charges for households

Mumbai: The Planning Commission has suggested higher electricity charges for households on par with commercial establishments, in order to remove the wide disparity in user charges. There is a big difference between the electricity charges for households vis--vis the commercial establishments. This has only resulted in discrepancies and inefficient use of power, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, said.

"You can easily take care of this problem by unifying the rates," the Ahluwalia told participants of the India-IEA workshop on 'Energy Efficiency in Buildings and Building Codes'.

The power ministry, he said, should evolve ways of rationalising on the energy-pricing front.

"The first 'X' units of power can be given free to the households. Anything above that can be charged at par with the commercial establishments," he said, adding that a large number of commercial establishments are being metered as household resulting in huge losses to the power distributors.

"As India continues to grow, the demand for energy is going to increase manifold in the next few years putting a lot of pressure on the power generation companies," he said.

He specifically took exception to the large number of shopping malls coming up by saying that the malls are going to put a lot of pressure on the available amount of electricity.