Substandard IP sets blamed for power crisis in State

Lack of metering made it difficult to account for the energy consumed

Substandard IP sets blamed for power crisis in State

In conversation: Energy Department Additional Chief Secretary K Jairaj, Chairman of ISEC Board of Governors K R S Murthy and Bangalore University Vice- Chancellor Dr N Prabhudev at a public lecture on ‘Karnataka’s power scenario-Issues and Challenges,’ in Bangalore on Thursday. DH Photo

Delivering a public lecture organised by Bangalore University and Institute of Social and Economic Change (ISEC) on Thursday, Jairaj said that there were 17 lakh IP sets in the state and 2 lakh unauthorised pumpsets. “They are not metered and so we cannot measure how much is being consumed and if we cannot determine the load, we cannot manage it,” he said.

As an alternative, he said four lakh distribution transformers in the state would be completely metered in the next two years. He alleged that most of the IPs were of substandard quality without any standards for energy efficiency.

“The Bureau of Energy Efficiency has stated that the loss is 40 to 50 per cent as these IP sets are not properly calibrated. If people adopt standardised equipment, then the loss would come down drastically,” he mentioned.

However, when standardised IP sets were offered to the farmers along with free power, there was stiff resistance to the idea, Jairaj claimed.

Another troubling aspect was the impact on the financial sector. Power to the IP sets constitutes about 36 per cent of Escoms’ supply. For the year 2008-09 alone, Bescom ran up a bill of Rs 1375.83 crore for power supplied to IP sets. Coupled with this, the Gram Panchayats collectively owe about Rs 1,500 crore to all the Escoms. The impact when money did not come was huge as the Escoms found themselves unable to pay for the power they purchased from Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL), which in turn was unable to speed up its projects without any money.

Jairaj said that it would take five years before the supply could actually meet the demand. As a short term arrangement, the State government was purchasing 700 MW daily at a cost of Rs 10 crore.

For long term arrangement, the Government will be looking at adding 4000 MW to its kitty through the establishment of gas-based power plants. As of now, KPCL is going ahead with the 2000 MW gas-based plant at Bidadi, which is being supplied gas from Dabhol through a pipeline being set by Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL). The Government will be mooting for public private partnership at the upcoming Global Investors Meet to establish more plants.

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