Every fixed asset must be depreciated; and for the purpose of depreciation, the life of each asset is to be taken as stated in the table given in the Seventh Schedule. As regards the depreciation method that can be applied, the Act makes provision for only two, viz., (a) Compound Interest or Sinking Fund Method, and (b) Straight Line Method.
Under the Compound Interest Method a certain sum is set aside every year and accumulated at compound interest of 4% p.a. This process of setting aside a certain sum continues throughout the prescribed period of the life of the asset till an amount equal to 90% of the original cost of the asset is reached.
Under this method interest at the rate of 4% p.a. on the opening balance of the Depreciation Reserve must be transferred from the Revenue Account to the Depreciation Reserve Account.
Under the Straight Line Method of depreciation, an allowance is made each year which is equivalent to 90% of the cost of the asset divided by the prescribed period of the life of the asset.
When an asset has been written down to 10% (or less) of its original cost, no further depreciation is allowed in respect of that asset.
When a fixed asset becomes obsolete or inadequate or superfluous or is discarded for any other reason, it cannot be depreciated any further.
- Contingency Reserve:
Every electricity company is required to maintain a contingencies reserve. Reserve is created by transferring from the Revenue Account every year an amount equivalent to not less than 1/4 per cent and not more than 1/2 per cent of the original cost of the fixed assets until it equals 5 per cent of the original cost of the fixed assets. The amount is to be invested in trust securities.
It can be utilised with the approval of the State Government for the following purposes:
(i) Meeting expenses or loss of profits arising out of accidents, strikes or circumstances beyond the control of the management.
(ii) Meeting expenses of replacement or removal of plant or works other than the expenses necessary for normal maintenance or renewal.
(iii) Paying compensation payable under law for which no other provision has been made.
- Development Reserve:
The reserve is created by transfer of an amount equivalent to income-tax and super-tax (calculated at current rates) saved on account of development rebate allowed by the income-tax authorities. If in any accounting year the clear profit excluding the special appropriations together with the accumulations, if any, in the Tariffs and Development Control Reserve fall short of reasonable return, the appropriations to this reserve can be reduced by the amount of shortfall. The amount of such reserve is to be invested in the same electricity undertaking and is to be handed over to purchaser of the business in case the business is sold away.
- General Reserve:
Section 67 of the Act provides for the creation of a General Reserve. An annual contribution at a rate not exceeding ½% of the original cost of the fixed asset can be made after providing for interest and depreciation. This Reserve can be created until the total of such Reserve exceeds 8 per cent of the original cost of the assets.
- Tariffs and Dividend Control Reserve:
The reserve is created out of profits in excess of the reasonable return earned by an electricity undertaking. This can be utilised whenever the clear profit is less than the reasonable return. The balance in the reserve should be handed over to the purchaser in case the business is sold away.
The remuneration given to Managing Agents is, in the first place, a percentage of net profits. This percentage cannot exceed 10% of the first Rs 5 lacs of such net profits and 7% of all net profits in excess of Rs 5 lacs. In the second place, the amount paid to Managing Agents is subject to a minimum payment which should not exceed Rs 2 p.a. for each Rs 1,000 of paid up share and debenture capital.
The office allowance which Managing Agents can draw is to include the salaries and wages of all persons employed in the office but not the salaries of the engineering staff employed for purposes of the undertaking.
This allowance is to be a percentage of:
(a) The operating expenditure during the year of account and
(b) The capital expenditure during the year of account.
- Reasonable Return:
The Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948, imposes restrictions on electricity undertakings on earning too high a profit, by means of the concept of reasonable return, which stipulates the following:
- A yield at the standard rate which is the Bank Rate stipulated by the Reserve Bank of India from time to time, plus 2% on the Capital Base.
- Income derived from investments excluding investments made against the Contingencies Reserve.
- An amount equal to ½% on any loans advanced by the Board.
- An amount equal to ½% on the amounts borrowed from organisations or institutions approved by the State Government.
- An amount equal to ½% on the amounts realised by the issue of debentures.
- An amount equal to ½% on the accumulations in the Development Reserve.
- Any other amount as may be allowed by the Central Government, having regard to the prevailing tax structure in the country.