Frequent troubles with State power generator Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL), which led to a shortfall in generation, was cited as one of the reasons by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) for increasing the power tariffs in the State by an average of 32 paise per unit.
Citing an increase in the cost of service for ESCOMS at Rs 2,231 crore for providing power in 2012-13, KERC noted that KPCL was a ‘major contributor’ to a shortfall in procurement of 6,908 Million Units which the utilities then had to buy on the short term market at a cost of 4.64 Rs/unit as against the rate of 1.94 Rs/unit that KPCL supplies power at. This coupled with a low revenue realisation of 19 paise per unit led to a gap of Rs 2,377 crore, KERC has estimated and a part of which has been incorporated in Monday’s hike.
Speaking to reporters, KERC Chairman M R Sreenivasa Murthy said, “The total revenue gap, including the projections for 2014-15 is Rs 4,708 crore. Even with the hike announced now, there is an unfilled gap of around Rs 1,209 crore or 24 paise per unit. We will keep this aside till next year as a regulatory asset.”
With the 24 paise included, the hike this year could have been as high as 56 paise per unit. However, the KERC will have to incorporate the `1,209 crore shortfall in the coming years.
Murthy added that KERC had drawn the attention of the government to the issues with KPCL and advised urgent action to improve the performance of the KPCL thermal power stations.
He also warned of possible shortage in peak hour power supply from December this year as power supply companies would face issues of overloading of lines and a shortfall in capacity during peak hours as there is no reserve power generation capacity in the State. KERC has also urged the government allow renewable energy companies immediately.
The Commission in its order also issued strict instructions to all ESCOMS making it mandatory for them to properly plan out load shedding as and when it has to be carried out.
“ESCOMs have been directed to estimate energy for each sub-division everyday and plan load-shedding in a way that the same areas are not affected. Plans must be announced at least 24 hours in advance and in unforeseen circumstances, time of restoration can be advised through SMS or other means,” Murthy said. The KERC will also monitor the implementation on a monthly basis, he said.
Call Centre Planned
Electricity consumers drawing power from ESCOMs across the State will soon have a centralised call centre to log their complaints and intimate them of the action taken. BESCOM has already implemented this for all the eight districts under its jurisdiction.