Power Tariff Revision: KERC holds public hearing

Consumers say NO to hike

Mysuru: Power consumers, cutting across various categories including domestic and industrial, have rejected the proposed power tariff appeal filed by the Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC).

At a public hearing organised by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) at the Court Hall of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office here this morning, consumers urged the KERC to dismiss the CESC appeal to hike the power tariff by Rs.1.13 per unit across all slabs for the financial year 2018-2019.

The hearing was conducted by KERC Chairman and senior IAS Officer M.K. Shankaralinge Gowda, assisted by members D.B. Manivel Raju and H.D. Arun Kumar. Every year, Electricity Supply Companies (ESComs) have to approach the KERC for a revision of tariff. Once the petitions are received from all ESComs, the KERC fixes the date for public hearings. Today, the hearing was held in Mysuru region.

Following the hearing, the KERC will now hear other ESComs and send a proposal to the State Government with its recommendations. With Assembly elections round the corner, sources said that the Government may not implement the new tariff if the election dates fall in May as it might anger the voters. It will be up to the new Government to implement a hike.  

As the hearing began, CESC Managing Director C. Kiran told the KERC that CESC was facing a deficit of Rs.265.68 crore and had a regulatory asset of Rs.517.98 crore. If the profits accrued during 2016-2017 (Rs.21.44 crore) was reduced from this, still there will be a revenue deficit of Rs.762.22 crore.

He said that Rs.1.13 per unit across all slabs will help CESC to overcome the losses and streamline distribution network. He claimed that CESC had provided electricity connections to all villages under its jurisdiction including tribal hamlets and added, “99 percent of works have been completed and we will achieve 100 percent electrification in another 6 months.”

CESC MD Kiran said that CESC is one of the best companies that supplies quality power to all consumers and has received many awards from the Centre for its efforts.

Responding to the presentation made by CESC MD, Prabhu from Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association said that CESC was covering its own inefficiencies and lapses and was burdening the consumers.

“CESC resorts to unscheduled load shedding and this has resulted in severe business losses and here its MD is bothered only about losses without taking steps to recover from losses,” he said. Prabhu added that there was severe pilferage of power with thousands of illegal connections and CESC has not been able to control it.

Anil Sahu from Hassan Coffee Planters Association said that the existing tariff was too high and every year, planters were suffering huge losses. He urged the KERC not to give in to CESC and retain the existing tariff structures.

Manjunath from Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association urged the KERC to include GST in the tax levied by the CESC. “GST is uniform tax and there should be no exceptions to Escoms and they cannot collect separate taxes,” he said. Manjunath also appealed to the KERC to levy uniform tariffs during day and night.

K.B. Lingaraju from Mysuru Chamber of Commerce and Industries appealed to the CESC to install separate meters for industrial units functioning from a single premises where the owners have sub-let them to different units.

The interesting part of the hearing came when Ranganath of Bharatiya Kisan Sangha spoke. Taking on CESC MD Kiran, who claimed that CESC had received many awards, Ranganath said that CESC must instead take the award from farmers.

“You don’t supply quality power and ‘Single Phase’ is the standard norm. Losses are due to gross mismanagement and illogical power purchase from other States. This being the situation, the CESC must increase its efficiency and plug pilferage instead of burdening the consumers,” he said.

 

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