Electricity consumers at a public hearing here on Tuesday opposed Mangalore Electricity Supply Company's (Mescom) proposal to increase power tariff by 75 paise per unit for all categories except for irrigation pumpsets, Bhagyajyothi and Kutirajyothi connections.

The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) heard objections by consumers.

KERC chairman M.R. Sreenivasa Murthy and its members V. Hiremath and K. Srinivasa Rao recorded the objections.

The commission had received 4,000 objections and suggestions.

Representatives of different organisations appealed to the Commission to reject the proposal. They said that there was no need for the raise and if the KERC allowed it, it would be a burden on consumers.

S. Sumanth, Managing Director, Mescom, justified the proposal.

He said that the company's projected annual revenue requirement for 2010-11 alone would be Rs. 1,694.31 crore.

In that it had to shell out 77 per cent (Rs. 1,303.36 crore) as power purchase cost. The only financial resource for the company was the tariff charged to consumers and the subsidy support from the Government. The projected revenue earning on the basis of existing power tariff rate and subsidy from the government is estimated at Rs. 1,112.32 crore.

Thus the company would have to face a revenue deficit of Rs. 581.99 crore.

He said if its proposal for traffic increase was accepted, it would push up the revenue by Rs. 188.65 crore.

The remaining deficit of Rs. 393.34 crore would have to be made good by the Government in the form of subsidy.

Sathyanarayana Udupa, secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Sangha who represented 1,375 objections from Udupi district, wanted to know how all electricity supply companies in the State could propose 75 paise per unit when their performance differed. He alleged that Mescom had “cooked up” its accounts presented before consumers.

Mr. Udupa, who is a member of the State Advisory Committee for KERC, demanded that the KERC should order for an independent auditing of the accounts of Mescom.

Mr. Sumanth, who refuted it, said the company had placed only audited accounts before consumers.

S.S. Kamath, who represented Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, alleged that Mescom had inflated the projections for seeking tariff increase.

A.P. Kodancha, who represented Consumers Forum, Udupi, said that Mescom itself was responsible for unauthorised power connections.

No one could take unauthorised connections without the involvement of its officials. Representatives of farmers demanded that Mescom should fix meters to irrigation pumpsets.

Then the quantity of power used by irrigation pumpsets would be clear and it could not mislead on this account.

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