New Delhi: Get ready to shell out more on your power bill as notwithstanding last month's 22 per cent hike in power tariff, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday dropped strong indication of another increase, saying cost of electricity procurement has gone up significantly.

Justifying the demands by private power distribution companies to further hike the tariff, Dikshit said the rates in Delhi were much lower compared to most of the other states
and people must understand that cost of power procurement has risen to a great extent.

"There could be. Yes, certainly," Dikshit said when asked specifically whether she was indicating that the tariff will go up.

Asked about Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's comment at the National Development Council meeting that states should raise power tariff as distribution companies are facing
financial difficulty, Dikshit said the statement reflected the real situation.

"The Centre has also admitted the reality. No government would like to increase the burden on the people. But we will have to understand the situation. People will have to understand that cost of power has gone up," she said.

After announcing a 22 per cent hike in tariff in August, which came into effect from September one, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had also said that
there could be a further hike early next year.

Not satisfied with the hike, the discoms, particularly Anil Ambani Group company BSES, have been demanding further increase in tariff to sustain their operations. Earlier, they
had petitioned the DERC for a 60 per cent increase in tariff.

"We had not hiked tariff for six years. The cost of power procurement has gone up. The power that used to cost us Rs 2to Rs 3 per is now costing us Rs 5 to Rs 6. The transmission cost of power also has gone up," Dikshit said.

"The tariff in Delhi is far less than almost all the states in the country," Dikshit said.

The Chief Minister even said that people living in Gurgaon and Noida often do not get regular power supply and they have to incur around Rs 15 for per unit of electricity
produced from generators.

"People in Gurgaon and Noida are paying it as they are not getting regular supply. In Delhi you are getting electricity. You are not having to pay Rs 15 per unit whether private or otherwise," she said.

She said government has been paying subsidy to the people who limit their consumption not beyond 200 units per month.

"We do not want to burden people and that is why we have been asking people to conserve energy. We care for people and that is why we have been giving subsidy to those who limit
their consumption upto 200 units per month," she said.

Addressing the NDC meeting, Mukherjee had said that "states will have to review and revise the tariffs regularly" to ensure the financial health of the distribution companies.

The new rates, which came into effect from September 1, were announced after a prolonged controversy.

In May last year, the city government had through a notification stalled DERC's decision to announce the annual tariff for 2010-11 till it re-examines the demands from discoms to increase the rates.

The DERC, which was making last minute preparations to announce the new tariff, after receiving the government directive had indicated that it had planned to cut down the
tariff by 20 to 25 per cent as discoms would have a surplus of around Rs 4,000 crore if the existing tariff was not changed.

Although DERC was strongly arguing for a cut in tariff, the three-member regulator, following retirement and subsequent appointment of two new members, gave indication of
taking a sympathetic approach to the demands of the discoms.

Agencies