BENGALURU: Monday’s tariff order by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) seeks to promote industry at a time when the demand for power from the state-owned distribution companies is waning. “Ideally the growth in consumption must be 10% year on year, but this has not happened. Hence the concessions,” said KERC chairperson M K Shankarlinge Gowda.
In addition to concessions for industry sector, KERC is also likely to order that farmers be given power supply during the day for at least six hours effective sometime from November. Currently, power for farming activities is being supplied in two slots of three hours each during the day and at night. “We expect solar power generation to touch 5,000 MW in October and we will carry out a review in October and issue this order if feasible,” Gowda said.
Additionally, to give a boost to those looking to set up electric vehicle charging points across Bengaluru, KERC has waived the requirement of a licence to be procured for the same and also announced a separate tariff of `4.85/unit. “This should give a boost to those looking to set up charging points across the city. This is part of our focus on encouraging environment-friendly measures,” he said.
Other measures include a `1/unit rebate on the tariff charged for the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited. “The BMRCL purchases bulk power and manages its own sub-stations. We wanted the benefits to be passed on to BMRCL because it is providing public transport service,” Gowda said. Efforts by the Railways to electrify lines also received a boost as KERC announced a concessional tariff for the Railway traction lines `Rs 6/unit (reduction of 40 paise/unit) around the clock.
Streetlights which use LED lamps will also get a rebate of `1/unit and will be charged `5.10/unit in BBMP, urban and rural local body areas. However, for streetlights without LED lamps, there is an increase of around 25 paise/unit.
Consumer-friendly measures for bescom customers
The KERC, in its tariff order on Monday, has also approved a slew of measures for consumers who purchase power from Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM). These include a prompt payment rebate of 0.25% on the electricity bill if paid within 10 days of generation, relief for sick industries and the bearing of transaction charges by BESCOM instead of the customer for payments made online. The last measure will come as a relief to many who had to shell out a percentage of the bill amount as online transaction charges for paying their electricity bills on the internet.
INDUSTRY UNHAPPY WITH TARIFF HIKE
The Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) has criticised the hike in tariff and termed it as a ‘severe blow’ to consumers, specially the industry sector, stating that the increase will add to cost of production at a time when the sector is reeling under assembly line disruptions due to power cuts. “The power tariff increase year-on-year is detrimental to industrial growth in the state.
With increased installed capacity and transmission corridor, DISCOMS now have flexibility to reduce their power procurement cost by purchasing power through power exchanges,” said Raju Bhatnagar, Secretary General, BCIC. The Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) also said that the hike will place a burden on industry. On the special incentive scheme for industrial consumers, K Ravi, president of FKCCI, said, “The special incentive schemes for the usage between 10 pm and 6 am (non-peak) will be only useful for industries who run all the three shifts and not available for industries who run one or two shifts.”