The power consumers of Mescom have urged the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) to reject the appeal filed by Mangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd (Mescom) for a hike in the power tariff.
At a public hearing on Monday, representatives from Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), farmers, Ice Plant and Cold Storage Owners’ Association, Bharatiya Kisan Sangha, domestic consumers and coffee planters sought the rejection of the petition that seeks a hike of Rs 1.02 per unit. The hearing was conducted by KERC Chairman M K Shankarlinge Gowda and members D B Manival Raju and H D Arun Kumar.
Mescom Managing Director Chikkananjappa projected the additional requirement of funds of the Mescom during 2016-17, running up to Rs 483 crore. “In order to cater to the consumer requirements, Mescom has to purchase energy from the generators, maintain its distribution system to its optimum level and also have a reliable consumer-oriented approach. With an increase in power purchase and cost of power purchase, increase in O and M expenses on account of inflation, recruitment of junior linemen and proposed recruitment of Assistant Engineers, AAO/junior engineers and other staff, the expenditure will increase,” he explained.
Representatives of the KCCI said that the neighbouring Kerala State is supplying electricity at a cheaper price for industries. The increase in power tariff trend should be stopped. A full-fledged service station should be set up at Bykampady, they demanded.
Devadas Shetty of the Ice Plant and Cold Storage Owners’ Association said that the association is demanding concession for ice plants functioning within five-kilometre radius of the sea shore. “The ice plants operating near the sea shore are seasonal industries. There is a need to fix a special tariff for the ice plants with a competitive rate to face the competitions from the ice plants of Kerala and Goa,” he said.
Balasubrahmanya Bhat said that the KERC should issue a direction for the recovery of pending bills from the government. The old lines should be replaced to increase the efficiency in power supply, he suggested.
Cooperative leader Narasimha Nayak, from Shivamogga, said that the sub-divisional level grievances meeting should be organised. “A probe should be conducted into the damage of insulator of the newly laid Theerthahalli to Agumbe line. The Mescom should have scheduled power cuts,” he demanded.
Ramakrishna Sharma of Krishika Sangha, Udupi, said the low-voltage problem in rural areas of Udupi needs to be set right to reduce the transmission loss. “A special squad should be constituted to look into the disruption in power supply during rainy season. There is also a need to give publicity on LED bulb distribution under the ‘Hosa Belaku’ scheme of the government. There is a need to create awareness on saving electricity among consumers by advising the farmers not to use pump sets during peak hours. The services should be improved before hiking the power tariff,” he suggested.
Venkatagiri Rao from Sagara wondered how all Escoms in the State, who have different overhead costs, could seek a uniform hike to overcome projected loss.
K V Rao of the Regional Science Centre, Pilikula, said that the centre should be given a concession from the commercial rate of the Mescom.
A member of the Mudigere Consumers’ Association said that the Mescom should also give thrust on the use of solar IP sets and replacement of old lines.
The KERC chairman said that the efficiency in services needs to be improved by the power supplying companies. “The proposal on differential tariff and voltage tariff is a reform measure in the electricity supplying system. The KERC will decide on the power tariff after holding meetings with all the Escoms,” he assured.