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Power becomes costlier in Punjab as utilities hike surcharge

        Chandigarh, Oct 12 (PTI) Power utilities in Punjab Friday decided to levy increased surcharge on consumers, leading to hike in cost of electricity in the state.        Disclosing this here, officials said that fuel cost adjustment (FCA) surcharge has been raised to 12 paise per unit for both metered and unmetered power connections in the state.         Earlier, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) was charging 8 paisa per unit from the metered and unmetered connections, he said.        PSPCL has notified its September 20 decision taken by the board of directors in which the FCA surcharge was revised to 12 paise per unit for both metered and unmetered power connections, they said.        The hike in FCA surcharge was approved by Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) recently.         Meanwhile, Opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) condemned the fuel surcharge imposed by the Congress government, saying such measures had resulted in repeated hikes in power tariff and put an unbearable burden on the common man.        While demanding an immediately rollback, former minister Sikander Singh Maluka said the Congress government was repeatedly hiking power tariff through the back door by imposing electricity duties and fuel surcharge costs on consumers which had increased power tariff by around 20 per cent in the last one and a half years.         Maluka said the latest hike in the form of fuel surcharge for both metered and unmetered categories, would raise both domestic and commercial bills further.         He said already the industrial sector had witnessed a steep hike in power tariff with the government imposing hidden costs which had taken unit charges to much beyond the Rs 5 per unit landing cost promised by the Congress government.         The Akali leader said earlier this year the government affected an Rs 2.17 per cent hike in domestic tariff and also increased fixed charges by Rs 10 per kilo watt.           He said similarly in the industrial sector fixed charges had been increased by Rs 10 to Rs 15 per unit. PTI VSD MR MR

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