The experiment of penalties having boomeranged, the Central Power Distribution Company (APCPDCL) is again back to square one, imposing weekly embargoes on industrial consumption as it had done earlier.

Now it is four days of unbridled consumption and three days of total shutdown in a week for the industries, imposed in staggering schedules.

Communication gap

While the company has long returned to the power holiday regime, communication gap between the company and the consumers has left the latter in total chaos. The changed schedules not having being notified by the officials concerned, many industries have ended up drawing power during power holidays too, forcing the company to impose emergency load reliefs across its jurisdiction.

The earlier orders imposing penalties against overdrawing of power landed the officials in trouble, as industries chose to overdraw despite the penalties. With a steep hike in diesel prices announced just days after the orders came into force, industries found the penal tariffs more affordable than running their generator sets. It resulted in additional loads on the grid, prompting officials to revise the decision.

Upon requests from discoms led by APCPDCL, the AP Electricity Regulatory Commission had earlier imposed penalties amounting to three times the normal tariff for overdrawing during off-peak hours and five times the tariff during peak hours. The orders came into force from September 12.

However, the central discom approached the Commission again within days seeking a few changes in the order. After the recent fiasco, it has approached the Commission for a third time, forcing the latter to seek to listen to the representatives from the industry too.

Accordingly, a hearing was organised with industrial associations on Friday, and a final decision is most likely to be announced on Monday.

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