A recent article in Business Standard highlighted the disproportionate rise of cross-subsidy surcharge (CSS) in many states. We have been tracking this issue as well and had highlighted the problem in our blog & NL Volume 62.

 

In the past, CSS has been calculated on the basis of the cost of the marginal 5% (in other words the most expensive 5%) of power procured by the state. This results in a bias towards the highest cost paid, resulting in high CSS. The National tariff policy (NTP) has suggested change in this methodology to a weighted average cost model, and also proposed that CSS be restricted to 20% of the tariff. However, recent increases show that states have largely ignored the provisions of the NTP.

 

A big reason for the rise in CSS is also the fact that states continue to shy away from raising tariffs for domestic, agricultural and such categories. According to the Business Standard article, States like Chhattisgarh, UP, Uttarakhand and Bihar have already come up with their tariff orders for the financial year 2016-17, but have not raised retail tariffs. Only Gujarat has allowed a retail tariff increase.

 

With increasing cost of power the burden to foot the bill therefore falls on industrial and commercial consumers. As per the MoP data the below graph depicts change in CSS over the span of 1 year in the major states which varies from 35% to 321%.