Even with failing rains setting off anxiety about the impending power crisis, sources from Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (Mescom) have said that Dakshina Kannada will not experience long spells of load shedding this year.
Sources told The Hindu that the State Government had allocated 580 MW to Mescom, which covers four districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Chikmagalur, and Shimoga, and it would be “sufficient” till December. “As of now, there will be no load shedding. Although consumption varies according to seasons, it is well within limits now,” said a source.
On the subject of the recent Central Electricity Regulatory Commission directive asking State Electricity Boards to restructure and increase tariffs frequently officials said, a power tariff increase would be decided by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC).
Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industries expressed optimism regarding the power situation in the district. Even though they had received some verbal complaints about the unscheduled power cuts, KCCI vice-president and Chairman of Sub-Committee on Power Nigam Masami said: “Although it seems more than enough for now, we still have to figure out how the power will be generated. Releasing water from the Cauvery, for example, can reduce the amount of power that can be generated. Apart from these unforeseen circumstances, the industries will not have a problem till the peak season in May.”
Several vacant positions, especially of linemen and maintenance workers, have been affecting the operations of the Mescom. With no recruitment having taken place over the last year, it is safe to assume that the figure of 42.55 per cent tabulated as vacant posts against sanctioned posts last year has only gone up this year, that is, out of 7,042 sanctioned posts in the electricity company, more than 3,000 posts remain vacant.
Grade D, under which linemen and maintenance workers fall, has the highest percentage of vacancies, with 2,135 vacant posts out of 4,121 sanctioned posts.
Grade A has 60 vacant posts out of 218 sanctioned posts, Grade B has 111 vacant posts out of 279 sanctioned posts, and Grade C has 695 vacant posts out of 2,434 sanctioned posts.
The process of recruiting 342 lineman in January this year, landed in controversy, and saw the company taken to court for not reserving 33.3 per cent of the posts for women.
Mescom officials said numerous requests to the Recruitment Board had fallen on deaf ears. Company was struggling with a dearth of manpower with no personnel to attend to customer grievances or repair requests, said the sources.