The power tariff revision in January this year has benefited High Voltage (HV) consumers, especially industries in Pasakha.
Power tariff has always been one of the biggest bottlenecks for all industries. In 2016, many rounds of discussion were held with various stakeholders with regard to this issue.
However, now the power tariff has been revised from January 1, 2017 till June 30, 2019. Though the energy charge has decreased from Nu 1.96/kWh to Nu 1.59/kWh, the demand charge has increased from Nu 180/kWh to Nu 262 kVA.
The demand charge has been changed from kilowatt hour (Nu kWh) per month to kilo-volt-ampere (Nu kVA) per month.
After revision of the power tariff, cost of power has decreased by 7.6% for HV consumers.
An industrialist said his company is benefitting from the new power tariff.
But he added that the difference in cost is not vast. Before, per unit of power cost Nu 2.70 inclusive of demand charge and after the revision it reduced to Nu 2.12-Nu 2.19 per unit.
“The initial per unit charge was more and demand charge was less but after the revision, per unit charge is reduced and demand charge has been increased,” he said.
As per records with the Association of Bhutanese Industries (ABI), the Druk Wang Alloys Limited used to pay Nu 23.23mn/month before the new power tariff regime. After the new power tariff was implemented, the electricity bill came to Nu 21.14mn/month, which is a difference of Nu 2,202,160.
Representatives of industries met with the Opposition Leader, Dr. (Phd) Pema Gyamtsho and delegation at the Pasakha Industrial Estate on March 26 this year and discussed various issues including the downward revision of power tariff.
ABI coordinated an internal consultative meeting to discuss the issues to be presented during the public consultative meeting for Bhutan Power Corporation’s and Druk Green Power Corporation’s tariff reversion proposal as on May 25 this year.
Some of the industrialists also said that the other factors that have reduced the electricity bill was the fact that Goods and Services Tax (GST) was implemented in India from July this year.
Monsoon began from August and all industries suffered from crises of raw material for almost three months. He added industries have to operate furnace in 70%-80% load efficiency and it is normalizing from October this year only.
Similarly, an industrialist said that another factor that contributed to decrease in the power bill was use of energy-efficient equipment and means like using of capacitor bank, LED bulbs instead of sodium vapor lamps and energy-efficient motor.
He also mentioned that while the tariff is a sort of temporary relief, had the power tariff been increased as envisaged, most industries would have been shut down a long time back.
“There is only a slight competitive edge in terms of power tariff which is also made at par by other raw materials which we need to import,” he said.
Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu