PSPCL bleeds from Punjab Government’s free power scheme

PSPCL bleeds from Punjab Government's free power scheme
PSPCL bleeds from Punjab Government's free power scheme

PSPCL, already in debt to the tune of Rs 2,300 crore, is being squeezed by the Punjab Government’s free power scheme, which results in “zero bills” for most domestic consumers.

In March 2022, PSPCL generated a profit of Rs 1,069 crore, compared to an ongoing loss of over Rs 1,880 crore.

This year, during this period, 2.94 lakh new domestic connections were released, compared to 2.20 lakh in 2021, with many consumers reportedly getting more than one connection. “Most people are interested in the zero bill scheme,” said a top PSPCL official.

Against a budgetary provision of Rs 15,845 crore, power subsidies are expected to rise to around Rs 18,000 crore this fiscal. A total of 87 percent of Punjab’s 74 lakh domestic consumers received ‘zero bills’ in November. A PSPCL insider said, “The domestic subsidy alone has exceeded Rs 3,000 crore, up from Rs 1,100 crore last year.”

According to VK Gupta, a spokesman for the All-India Power Engineers Federation, the Punjab government already has a subsidy bill of Rs 9,020 crore, which is likely to rise by Rs 3,000 crore this year.

According to Gupta, the government liability towards PSPCL will reach Rs 12,000 crore by the end of this fiscal year.

Furthermore, the Central Government’s rules that restrict power purchase and sale if discoms fail to clear their dues further aggravate the PSPCL’s woes.

“We have repeatedly urged the state government not to burden the PSPCL with its appeasement politics, as this increases the PSPCL’s debt,” Ajaypal Singh Atwal, general secretary of the PSEB Engineers Association, said.