Mangaluru, Feb 11, 2015 : Participating in a public hearing by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission on Feb 10, over Mescom’s proposal to hike tariff by 80 paise per unit. Consumers and farmers’ representatives strongly opposed said that people should not have to bear the burden of the failure of Mangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd (Mescom) in collecting bills and bringing down the transmission and distribution losses.
The proposed revision of power tariff by 80 paise per unit sought by Mangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (Mescom) has met with opposition from stakeholders at a public hearing conducted by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) here.
President of the Electricity Consumers’ Forum Ramakrishna Sharma said that the Mescom had failed to take steps to bring down losses from transmission and distribution of power. They had also neglected consumers from rural areas by taking a long time to attend to their complaints. He blamed the negligence of the Mescom personnel for the loss in revenue.
When the public complained that power supplying company takes more than a month to change the default transformer in Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga region, the KERC Chairman M R Srinivas Murthy said that a public information board should be put up in all the section offices of Mescom on the time frame for the services rendered. The board should also inform the public on the fine for not providing the services within the time frame.
The minimum time required for changing a transformer is seven days. If the transformers are defective frequently, then spare serviced transformers should be kept ready for replacement (service exchange), he suggested Mescom MD Chikkananjappa.
Pending dues : Representative of Balakedarara Vedike, Shivamogga, said that about Rs 393 crore is due to all Escoms from various sources. The focus should be on recovery of pending dues. All the government offices should be asked to use LED bulbs.
Representing KCCI, former president said that in Kerala, power is supplied to small industries at rates much lower than Karnataka. As a result, many small-scale units in Dakshina Kannada have closed down on account of their inability to compete in pricing their products compared to the price of products of Kerala, he said.
Ramachandra Bhat of KCCI said that centralised service station at Bykampady industrial area should be strengthened. Mobile escalators should be provided to the linemen, to which, the KERC Chairman directed the industries to ensure that linemen wear all safety equipment before climbing the pole. Bhat also said that the payment of electricity bills should be made available through NEFT facility.
A Farmer that said that the Mescom incurs loss owing to mismanagement. Low voltage problem in rural area should be solved and those who pay the bill six months in advance should be given a rebate.
Iceplant and Cold Storage unit Association Legal Advisor said the iceplant unit should be considered as a separate entity and the tariff revision would be a burden on the ice plants. An ice plant consumes 35,000 unit electricity per month. The revision in tariff would be additional Rs 24,000 burden on the ice plants.
Mamcos Vice-president Nayak said that the Mescom has failed to cut branches of the treess which are dangling on the transmission wires inspite of complaints to the higher authorities in Malnad region. The auto reclosures installed in several parts of Shivamogga are not functioning. The transformers should be maintained and quality materials should be supplied.
Bharathiya Kissan Sangha delegate said that through the Sangha, a total of 1,600 consumers have submitted objections to the revision of tariff. The Mescom is purchasing short term power from UPCL at Rs 6.40 per unit, which is expensive. The consumer welfare fund should not be utilised for other purposes.
MSEZ MD and CEO Rajiv Banga said that the MSEZ should be considered as a bulk user and the consumption of electricity for water requirement of the MSEZ should be charged under HT1 instead of HT2A category.
Tariff Hike : Mescom MD Chikkananjappa said that increase in power purchase and cost of power purchase, increase in O and M expenses on account of inflation and increase in interest and finance charges have forced the Mescom to seek tariff revision. To provide better service to the consumers, the Mescom has initiated measures constitute new sub divisions at Shivamogga, Shankaranarayana, Kota Subrahmanya and Sringeri. The customer care centres will be strengthened. The MD said that the 55 per cent of the posts are lying vacant in the Mescom.
Report by March 31: KERC Chairman M R Sreenivasa Murthy said that the KERC has to submit a report on the tariff revision sought by the Escoms before March 31.
The KERC has received 2,015 objections from consumers. Speaking at the sidelines of the hearing, he said that after hearing the stake holders from all escoms, tariff revision will be decided.