The five electricity supply companies (Escoms) in Karnataka are working out modalities to tap the surplus solar power available with industries and domestic consumers. They are planning to approach the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) to fix the tariff for such power generators.

Many individuals and industrialists have installed solar panels in their homes and factories.

During an interaction on Saturday with bulk consumers in the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) jurisdiction, Principal Secretary of Energy Department Amita Prasad said that smart meters and hybrid power are the way forward. “Excess energy from rooftops can come to the grid,” she said while responding to a suggestion from an industrialist in this regard.

She said that alternative energy sources, especially solar power, will be considered in the light of the ban on development works in the Western Ghats, which has the potential for several mini-hydel power projects.

Partial to Bangalore

Most complaints by industrialists at the interaction pertained to unscheduled load shedding, especially in rural areas. “Do not allocate all power to industries in Bangalore. At least intimate us before a shutdown. That will help us plan our production activities,” an industrialist from Harihar said.

D.R. Subrahmanya, an industrialist from Tumkur, said, “It is difficult to run a factory in rural areas due to inadequate infrastructure. Unscheduled power cuts are one of the biggest problems that industries face.”

The online payment system of Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom), which crashed twice recently causing inconvenience to customers, will take some more time to be rectified.

“The problem should have been rectified by Saturday, but we could not complete the task. It could be ready by the end of December,” Principal Secretary Amita Prasad told presspersons on Saturday. The system first crashed on October 25. It broke down again on November 5. Increase in load has been cited as the reason. Bescom Managing Director Pankaj Kumar Pandey acknowledged that there are problems in the software, but added that alternative arrangements are in place for consumers to make payments.

Online payment portal

Glitches in the online data management system, provided by Infosys, had resulted in bank account numbers of consumers being jumbled up. Also, online payments took considerable time to execute. Work at Bescom cash counters was being affected since bills had to be generated manually and had to be updated once payments were made.

In a meeting between the Energy Department and Infosys Ltd. on November 22, Bescom stated that nearly 80 per cent of payment collections through cash counters had been badly hit.

Infosys explained that the system crashed when the number of customer records crossed 80 lakh.

According to Ms. Amita Prasad, Infosys has been told to come up with software that would be able to handle up to 2.5 crore customer records keeping in view future requirements.

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