Blames private firm’s pressure tactics to get Escoms to pay up, says he might be transferred

Consumers in parts of the city may have already been experiencing power cuts during the last few days but on Wednesday, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) Managing Director P. Manivannan chose Facebook to officially declare load shedding not only in Bangalore but across the eight districts to which Bescom supplies power.

The announcement that two hours load shedding every day on a rotation basis in the city — which was later cut to an hour a day — came after the sudden stoppage in supply of power to Bescom by Udupi Power Corporation Limited (UPCL), a private company that supplies 1,200 MW of power to the State.

“Thus, we are left with no other option than to impose temporary load shedding… Consumers may face power cut in the evenings and early mornings, not exceeding one hour at a stretch,” the Bescom MD posted on his Facebook account.

Morning hours

However, after a protracted meeting with the officials, Mr. Manivannan told The Hindu the cut will be restricted to an hour anytime between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. every day in Bangalore, and will be enforced on a rotation basis from area to area. “In case it goes beyond one hour, citizens can reach our helpline on www.bescom.org or 080- 22873333.”

Areas falling outside the city supplied by Bescom will have to face a two-hour daily power cut. The temporary measure is expected to last for at lea st 10 days to two weeks, he said.

Not enough

Mr. Manivannan said UPCL’s decision is likely to impact other parts of the State as well. Though Bescom, which receives 600 MW of the 1,200 MW of power supplied by UPCL to the State grid, will be hit the most, other regions will also suffer. Even though the government-owned Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. (KPCL) had increased production by 600 MW, it would not be able to meet the shortfall.

“They (UPCL) stopped supplying power to us since the last four days with just two days of notice,” he said, adding that it suddenly reported ‘no stock’ of coal and stopped generation. Mr. Manivannan said.

As a private power company, UPCL should make its own arrangement for coal. Hence, Bescom, which had been adversely hit, was considering enabling the penalty clause against the company.

Revised costs

Mr. Manivannan attributed UPCL’s “sudden” action to its insistence that all Escoms pay up Rs.600 crore on account of the revised cost of power purchase as directed by the Electricity Appellate Tribunal, without giving them time to move the appropriate courts.

Mr. Manivannan said he does not buy the UPCL’s argument about coal shortage. “They have enough coal on ships anchored in the seas. They are resorting this to force us to pay up.”

He also claimed that he had learnt that he would be transferred for going public with UPCL’s “tactics” and exposing its lapses through social media.