BANGALORE: Close on the heels of the last tariff hike decision on October 28, 2011, the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) will begin another round of hearing on tariff hike petition filed by Energy Supply Companies (ESCOMs) from March 30.
“Petitions for the 2012-13 financial year were filed before January 27 and will be heard from March 30,” said M R Sreenivasa Murthy, chairman, KERC.
He added that the first hearing would be held in Mysore followed by Mangalore on April 3, Hubli on 5, Gulbarga on 9 and Bangalore on April 12.
Last year, the KERC had cleared a hike of 27 paise which was viewed as not sufficient.
This year, the process is expected to take about three or four months.
However, many are not open to the idea of a power hike even in small measure.
“They hiked rates a few months ago and promised better supply of power.
Power cuts take place just like any other year and at same number of times.
Only rates are hiked every year, without improving the quality of their service,” said Ramesh, a resident of Murgeshpalya.
He added that price hike - whether small or big - was unacceptable, as even the service was not improved.
“We have filed our reply to the petition.
It is uncalled for, and is an ad hoc petition to our knowledge.
Where is the need for a 73 paise hike within five months? There has been no emergency or calamity to invite an unusual tariff petition,” said Prakash N Raikar, president, Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (KASSIA).
He opined that KERC must not have admitted the petition at all.
“It is a mockery.
Like last time, they (ESCOMs) plan to ask for more and settling for a lower amount,” he added and lashed out at the KERC for acting as ‘agents of the government’.
Co-Chairman of Southern Regional Committee, ASSOCHAM J Crasta stated that with the reduction of mining in the state, railways are offering many discounts on coal freight contracts, and coal shortage or increased expenses formed no base for tariff hike petition.
“ESCOMs have to adopt a proper business management model.
They are still bureaucratic and inefficient.
We are paying for that by way of tariff hike,” he said.
However, ESCOMs themselves are finding it hard to survive without a tariff hike of the amount sought for.
“The commission is still following population pleasing pricing policies.
It was set up to decide tariff purely based on cost,” said an official