Stakeholders from various organisations and industries have asked the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) to turn down the Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation’s (CESC) plea to hike power tariff by up to 66 paise per unit.
The views came to the fore during an annual revision and grievances meeting of KERC, presided over by its chairman M R Srinivasa Murthy. Industrialists, NGOs, RTI activists, coffee planters and farmers opposed the move, terming it “unscientific” and “burdensome”.
Industrialist K Ravindra Prabhu said that the hike would not help CESC reduce its financial burden. It should, instead, give thought to proper management of transformers under its jurisdiction, which are under continuous repair, costing the Corporation dear.
Savitha Ranganath, an RTI activist, said that Gujarat provided 24x7, three-phase power supply, which Karnataka had not been able to achieve, despite the possibilities. “There is no need to hike power tariff, if CESC encourages conventional energy like solar by providing more subsidy,” she advised.
Flaying CESC’s apathy to repair transformers that break down during rainy season, especially in remote places, Teerthamallesh, member of the Karnataka Growers Federation, said that it took nearly a week to repair them.
It takes longer for the faulty transformers to be operational again in the villages and residents have to live in the dark for many days. He said that the annual report presented by CESC Managing Director D Kiran contained ‘half truths’.
“We coffee growers were categorised under LT4(A) from 2002 and charged extra for power consumption. Coffee, being an agriculture product, contributes 4 per cent to the GDP and uniform tariff must be applicable to growers,” he said.
C A Subbaiah, another coffee planter, said that most of the streetlights installed by CESC and the local panchayats operated without electricity metres. “An RTI query revealed that CESC has no information about the streetlights installed at Maldar village in Kodagu district,” he said.
In response, Srinivasa Murthy said that there might be other such cases across the CESC jurisdiction. He directed the officials to look into the issue and plug the leaks.