Rural consumers facing discrimination: discom engineer
Metering of agriculture pumpsets and separation of its feeders from non-agriculture feeder lines for supplying quality power and cutting down consumption wastage are being advocated by APEPDCL divisional engineer A.V.V.Surya Pratap.
He released the results of his study of the issues facing the distribution companies and the consumers in a book ‘Power Sector Reforms in AP – Known Problems and Solutions’. He not only covered the ills plaguing the sector but also gave practical solutions from a consumer point of view.
The rural consumers who are paying power tariff on par with their urban counterparts are facing discrimination with regard to quality of service relating to load shedding, safety, 3-phase supply, loads, investments, electrical accidents and metering of services, he noted in his study.
The rural folk should either be charged a lower tariff for the deficiency in services or quality of services improved on par with their urban counterparts.
Dr Surya Pratap told The Hindu that another important aspect of his study was on the need to supply metered free power to the farmers to plug loopholes, power wastage and encourage scientific method of power consumption. In the absence of which, wastage of power is high, overexploitation of groundwater, inefficient methods of using electricity, misuse of power to non-agriculture purpose. There are instances of using free power for unlicensed industries and even sub-leasing the same to them. The un-metered free electricity supply has led to the planting of water intensive crops, switching on the agriculture pumpsets and going on errands in an irresponsible manner. The subsidy amount worth the metered consumption can be transferred directly to the accounts of the farmers instead of giving scope for its misuse, he said.
He advocates providing of separate agriculture feeders in rural areas. The objective is to provide three-phase supply for only the specified timings in the agriculture feeders while non-agriculture feeders get three-phase supply round-the-clock.
At present there is neither an incentive for efficient use of energy nor a disincentive for higher consumption.
The consumers should be motivated with awards and rewards, he suggested.