Palike, municipal bodies owe Bescom Rs 810 crore

Palike, municipal bodies owe Bescom Rs 810 crore

 Streetlights are proving a bane for Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and various municipal bodies under its jurisdiction owing it Rs 810 crore.

Bescom is insisting on power-saving devices to curtail electricity consumption by streetlights.

Bangalore maybe Bescom’s a cash cow, but the BBMP is proving to be a white elephant. Of the Rs 810 crore due from various municipal bodies, Palike’s alone stands at Rs 256.12 crore.

Many correspondences with the BBMP authorities in this regard have yielded little result. “Since 2012, we have been writing to the Commissioner of Municipal Administration and the BBMP Commissioner, but they pay only a portion of the bill and the remaining amount is carried forward for an uncertain period. Thus, the dues are mounting constantly,” an official source said.

Bescom has 51,277 streetlight circuits in its limits, of which the BBMP alone has 19,128 circuits (a centre point to switch on and switch off streetlights); Bangalore Rural Area Zone (BRAZ) has 17, 951, and Chitradurga Area Zone (CTAZ) has 14,198 circuits.In his letter dated August 12, 2014, to the BBMP Commissioner, Bescom Managing Director Pankaj Kumar Pandey has suggested installation of electronic timer switches (ETS). He has cited the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (KERC) recommendation for ETS.

The letter reads: “The KERC has issued a directive to Bescom to instal ETS for streetlights for switching them on and off at the required time. It is observed that the streetlight bill for the month of June this year is Rs 10.83 crore and the outstanding balance is Rs 256.12 crore. Providing timer switches to streetlights saves energy and reduces the monthly billing demand.”

As installing such timers can reduce power consumption by 20 per cent, Pandey suggested that the BBMP can save crores of rupees in electricity bills by making ETS mandatory across its jurisdiction. In view of complaints from citizens about streetlights burning even during daytime, he has a similar suggestion to the Municipal Administration department.

The BBMP has begun the process of setting up the ETS and has already installed at least 14,343 circuits, of which about 11,000 are in working condition.

The BBMP authorities said installation of switches for the remaining 7,212 circuits was underway. However, installing ETS in BRAZ and CTAZ  is going on at a snail’s pace, where switches have been installed on just 301 and 61 circuits.

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