BENGALURU: In a bid to encourage farmers to install meters on their irrigation pump (IP) sets , Energy Minister D K Shivakumar on Wednesday said he would install meters on his pump sets and ask other leaders to do the same.
He was addressing a gathering of High Tension (HT) electricity consumers at a meeting convened by Bangalore Electricity and Supply Company (BESCOM).
“The total subsidy paid by the government towards providing free electricity to farmers is expected to touch Rs 7,000 crore this year. Energy consumption for IP sets cannot be calculated since farmers have traditionally opposed installation of meters,” Shivakumar said.
He added that the government is proposing an amendment to legislation which would solve issues by paying a compensation of 50 per cent of market value for lines drawn above lands located in rural areas, 100 per cent of market value for towers installed and 75 per cent of market value in urban areas to strengthen the transmission network in the State.
“The addition to thermal (power) capacity in the State is doubtful due to opposition to thermal power plants and environmental issues related to transportation of coal. Our hydel capacity is exhausted as well, except for the Cauvery river. We need to discuss the issue with Tamil Nadu.
“We are trying new schemes with solar power and the invitation to farmers to develop solar power projects on their land is a success,” Shivakumar said.
Earlier, Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) and BESCOM officials addressed the gathering.
KPTCL director S Sumanth, who was given complaints about repeated power disruption, said the situation would improve considerably with the completion of works, taken up at a cost of Rs 1720 crore, in the next two to three years.
“We have made plans for the State and for Bengaluru where we are looking to add transmission capacity for 7,500 MVA in the next few years. It will give us a comfortable buffer from the current capacity of 2,500 MVA,” he said.
BESCOM MD Pankaj Kumar Pandey, answering a complaint about unscheduled power cuts said, “We have done the mapping of customers to the feeders and our app is in testing stages. Once launched, this will provide customers with tracking options. Wherever possible, we will inform even about unscheduled outages through SMS or the app.”
There are 10,793 HT consumers in BESCOM’s jurisdiction alone, who account for 49.31 per cent of collection with an average rate of realisation of Rs 6.46.
“We have asked our officials to hold meetings with HT consumers and solve the issues. HT consumers are important to us,”Pandey stated.