Agencies cry foul over APERC decision to stop power supply to advertisement hoardings

The AP Electricity Regulatory Commission’s recent order barring power supply to advertisement hoardings across the State has come as a bolt out of the blue for the outdoor media companies, especially with respect to their business in twin cities.

A delegation representing the outdoor advertising media in Greater Hyderabad region approached the CPDCL Metro Zone officials here on Monday, seeking review of the decision to stop power supply to ad hoardings and uni-poles. “No business is being given 100 per cent power cut, even if the situation is grim in the State. We have already agreed to reduce power consumption by 50 per cent. At any given time, about 25 to 30 per cent of the hoardings remain vacant, bringing the savings to 75 per cent. But a total blackout will severely affect our business,” said H.V. Surendranath, the president of the Outdoor Advertising Media Association, Greater Hyderabad.

Festival season

With the festival season just round the corner, this decision will drive the prospective advertisers to find other channels of publicity, he says.

Incidentally, the companies have voluntarily stopped illuminating the hoardings since August 25, after the GHMC Commissioner M.T. Krishna Babu reportedly requested them to do so for the next 15 days. The APERC’s order on Restriction and Control Measures has arrived just two days ahead of the expected resumption of lighting.

“GHMC charges a lot more for lit hoardings, applying uniform tariff across the city. We pay the highest power tariff too, at over Rs.9 per unit of consumption. Further, compared to other establishments, illumination of hoardings does not consume much power,” says Iftequar Syed, the Director of Ad Age Outdoor Advertising Pvt. Ltd.

The charges are Rs. 900 per square metre per annum for lit hoardings, uni-poles and uni-structures as against the location-based differential tariffs ranging between Rs.400 to Rs.600 for the unlit ones. The charges for the current year have already been paid, claims Mr. Syed.

There are over 3,000 lit hoardings across the Greater Hyderabad region, with about 1,200 of them located in core city.

“Instead of cutting off the supply totally, we may be given restricted supply during shopping hours, say, between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., considering the oncoming festival season,” Mr. Syed pleads.

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