BANGALORE: The citizens and the representatives of the industries in the State strongly opposed the proposal put forth by Electricity Supply Companies (ESCOMs) during a public hearing organised by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) in the city on Wednesday.
The ESCOMs want to hike the power tariff by 73 paise per unit for the second time within five months. The participants urged the Commission not to accept the tariff hike petition filed the ESCOMs. Taking part in the hearing, Prakash N Raikar, President, Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (KASSIA), suggested that the Commission, instead of hiking the tariff, could advise the government to release arrears it owed to ESCOMs.
“It will helps them and prevent the hike. The frequent hikes in tariffs hampers yearly business which are worked out by the industry. I, therefore, say the Commission must reject their proposal.” K Srinivas Rao, Member of the Commission, pointed out that it was the responsibility of industries to work towards balancing their load so that peak hour power purchase could be reduced.
“Otherwise, tariffs will go up and it (tariff hike) will affect you,” he said. Appearing for the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Industry and Commerce (FKCCI), Rajshekhar opposed the compulsory implementation of the Time of Day metering for users consuming more than 1MW.
He also urged the Commission to not consider the surcharge of 1.10 paise on cross subsidy requested by BESCOM. “KERC must also lay down guidelines for ESCOM staff to deal with Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum complaints as their officers keep changing every few months leading to delays,” he said.
Representing the Consumer Care society, Y V Aswathnarayana said that consumers coming under BESCOM service area were entitled to a fair share of cheaper hydel power similar to other ESCOMs. “The KERC must fix a proper share of hydel power for BESCOM so that power purchase costs come down,”he said.
He also pointed out that as per their calculations, BESCOM has a surplus of Rs 933 crore which according to its calculations was `733 crore. “This is still a sizable amount and can be kept as a regulatory liability against BESCOM,” he added.
BWSSB contended that 64 per cent of its annual expenditure was already being spent on power purchase. Also, there was already a shortfall of 100 crore in the financial statements which would be further increased to `150 crore should the tariff hike be implemented.
Also opposing the power hike, BMRCL officials stated that a tariff hike would be a discouragement to BMRCL since the current passenger load factor was only at 10 per cent. “BMRCL has been promised power supply at a ‘no profit no loss’ rate by the government. We are currently operating in a very small section and are just able to break even. Give us a consideration for now and when we grow then consider higher rates,” the counsel for BMRCL told the commission.