No power tariff hike for now

Poll code comes as relief to citizens as KERC defers order

No power tariff hike for now

People can heave a sigh of relief for now as the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has deferred the tariff revision order as the model code of conduct is in force in view of the Assembly elections.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, M R Sreenivasa Murthy, chairman, KERC, said the decision was taken following instructions from the Electio­n Commission of India (ECI). “There will be no tariff revision orders until further communication from the ECI,” he said.

Asked whether the election code of conduct applies to the tariff revision order for which hearings had begun much earlier, even before the elections were declared, he said the KERC was bound to issue the orders by March 31 and had held hearings in areas under all the electricity supply companies (Escoms).

Postponement

“We conducted hearings even in those areas where Urban Local Body polls were scheduled. But, now we have to postpone the announcement indefinitely following the ECI directions,” he said.

Citing the increasing purchase costs and, a revenue gap of Rs 2,200 crore, the Escoms have sought an increase of 70 paise per unit to plug the gap. In 2012, the Escoms had approached the KERC, seeking an increase of 73 paise. However, the Commission allowed a hike of 13 paise per unit for all categories of consumers. The Escoms had stated that with no capacity addition, there was no alternative to purchase of power.

Objections

Having heard over 2,600 objections in the jurisdictions of all the Escoms, the orders were scheduled to be out by the end of this month.

Mangalore Electricity Supply Company topped the number of objections filed by consumers, with 2,158 objections (with affidavit) and 822 objections (without affidavit).

Surprisingly, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company has less objections, just 16, compared to Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Company with 21 objections (seven without affidavits) and Hubli Electricity Supply Company with 17 objections.
Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company has four objections.

Delayed

However, Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha told Deccan Herald that the ECI is yet to issue concurrence over the tariff orders. He said that the KERC had informed about the tariff revision and the same was communicated to the ECI, which has sought some clarifications. “All these communications took place in the last two days and the details sought by the ECI have been sent. But, there has been no response from it so far,” he said. Following the delay, Jha instructed the KERC to defer the tariff revision order.

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