BENGALURU:The total subsidy paid by the state government this year towards free supply of electricity to 22.75 lakh irrigation pumpsets and 29 lakh Bhagya Jyothi/Kuteera Jyothi households will be Rs 7,113 crore.
Last year, the subsidy paid was Rs 6,308 crore. According to Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC), the estimated consumption by IP sets will be 17,522 million units (MU) and 319 MU by BJ/KJ consumers.
Faced with rising subsidy amounts every year, the KERC has made it mandatory this year for Electricity Supply Companies (ESCOMs) to carry out an energy audit failing which 10 per cent of the subsidy amount would be withheld by the government.
“Our public hearings have shown that there is a need for auditing agricultural consumption. From April or earlier, ESCOMs will have to carry out an energy audit by comparing electricity going out from distribution transformer centres and the electricity which is billed for consumers. The difference, if any, must be accounted for,” said KERC Chairman M R Srinivasa Murthy.
The target set by the commission is 10 per cent of all feeders in the state per month with the entire 11,000 feeders covered by January.
“We have asked for monthly reports. Once the set target is completed, KERC will consider the results and advise the government on releasing the remaining portion of the subsidy,” Murthy said. Around Rs 700 crore will be withheld by the Government if the audit is not completed.
For agricultural feeders, seperated under the Nirantara Jyothi scheme, ESCOMS will have to meter the feeder and divide the number of IP sets connected to that feeder to trace abnormal power consumption.
In addition, the Commission has set a ceiling of Rs 4.50/unit for any short term power purchases to be made in the year. Prior approval of the Commission will be needed for any purchase over and above the ceiling. The estimated demand of power for 2015-16 is 62,000 million units. The amount of short term power purchase is expected to be 3 per cent of the total amount or 1352 MU as against 4500 MU estimated for the current financial year.
With regards to the guidelines issued by the KERC in the last tariff order, Murthy said compliance had been ‘partial’.
Currently the total aggregated technical and commercial losses are estimated to be 18 per cent which is below the national average. “Given the state’s infrastructure, we should be able to do better. Losses should be known with better accuracy and not estimations,” he said.