December 8: The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) revised power tariff by raising the cost by 30 paise per unit for domestic users. The revision, however, varies as per the Escoms and doesn’t affect fixed charges.
The power tariff has been hiked by 30.75 paise per unit for Bescom (Bangalore), 28.53 for Cesc (Mysore), 26.63 paise for Mescom (Mangalore), and 29.48 paise for Gescom (Gulbarga). The commission has also approved a hike of 0.43 paise per unit for Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL).
The Escoms had demanded a uniform hike of 75 paise per unit and the KPTCL had demanded a rise of 6 paise per unit. M. R. Shrinivas Murhty, the chairman of KERC, said that the hike has been arranged such that consumers have to bear only a small percentage of the rise in the average supply cost.
The KERC has also issued a directive to power utilities to obtain its prior permission before purchasing power at the rate of Rs. 4 per unit on a temporary basis. It also suggests that the government should strike long-term deals for power purchase to minimize purchase cost. Earlier, the KERC fixed a price of Rs. 6, which was brought down in the hope of curbing the runaway expenses incurred by the state government in the past two years. The government had purchased power for as much as Rs. 12 per unit to deal with the shortage of power.
According to the recent KERC directive, the Escoms must announce supply schedules a week in advance to industrial users as well as consumers from Jan 1, 2011 so that consumers can plan their work. The Escoms have also been directed to ensure that each household has an electricity connection in compliance with the National Electricity Policy. They have also been instructed to provide power from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. in rural areas with only an hour of load shedding.