THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The power bills of private clinics and private hospitals catering to the financially weaker sections, especially in the rural areas, will come down to the level of government hospitals. The Electricity Regulatory Commission, in an unprecedented move, has now equated small private clinics consuming less than 500 units a month, which constitutes nearly 70 percent of the total private hospitals in the state, with government hospitals. Government hospitals are charged Rs 5.50 per unit up to 500 units. Under the existing tariff, even private hospitals that consumed only 100 units a month were charged Rs 5.80 per unit.
Private hospitals consuming up to 500 units a month were charged Rs 7.80 per unit. Now, private hospitals that consume less than 500 units a month, too, need to pay just Rs 5.50 per unit. The move was prompted by the realization that about 68.4 percent of the private hospitals are having monthly consumption less than 500 units, and their annual consumption is only about 11.76 percent of the total consumption of private hospitals in the state. Interestingly, the tariffs of hospitals consuming above 500 units, too, have been marginally reduced. The Commission also has decided to dispense with the difference between the private hospitals run by charitable societies and by others. Earlier, the relief in tariff was available for only hospitals run by charitable societies.
Further, the ERC rejected the demand that the relief be extended to hospitals run by a charitable trust registered under the Indian Trust Act. “It has been found that even in the hospitals run by Charitable Societies and by Charitable Trust, only very few patients are given health care facilities at nominal charges. The majority of patients who occupy non-AC rooms or AC rooms are charged at higher rates. The major consumption in such hospitals is for air conditioning and such other facilities,” the Commission said in a note to the government.