It’s official. The State Government is examining various options of restructuring the management of the electricity supply companies (Escoms) in the State with a possible scope for private participation.
Speaking to presspersons at the sidelines of the inaugural session of a workshop on the final action plan for the renewable energy policy in Karnataka, organised by the World Institute of Sustainable Energy in Bangalore on Monday, Additional Chief Secretary, Energy Department, K. Jairaj said the Government was considering several models, including a management franchise model such as the one in Biwandi and the privatisation of the distribution system like in Delhi.
“But I want to make it clear that such options are still at the discussion stage and we have not arrived at any decision,” he said, and added that the main aim was to bring about efficiency in the functioning of all the five Escoms in the State besides improving the service delivery mechanism.
Such an examination of various models had begun at the direction of Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who also holds the Energy portfolio, he said, and noted that any decision in this regard would be taken only after a detailed discussion with the Chief Minister.
It may be noted that speculation regarding such a process, especially a possible disinvestment, had gripped the State’s power sector about two months ago. But there was no official confirmation then. The Government has total equity of about Rs. 1,200 crore in the Escoms and Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. put together.
Mr. Jairaj said the process for setting up the 4,000-MW thermal power project in Kudgi, for which the State Government had signed a MoU with National Thermal Power Corporation, was expected to gain momentum with the NTPC set to present a cheque for Rs. 25 crore to the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board towards acquisition of land for the project on Tuesday. In all, the NTPC is to a pay about Rs. 120 crore towards acquisition of about 3,000 acres of land. He expressed optimism that the civil work for this project may commence by September and the unit would be ready for generation in three and half years.
Mr. Jairaj said a World Bank team was having an informal consultation with officials from the Karnataka government on Monday regarding its plan for a new energy plan.
He reiterated that the State Government had decided to procure an additional 480 MW of power amounting to about 10 Million Units a day to tide over the power shortage during the summer season so that students preparing for examinations would not be inconvenienced.
Pointing out that nearly 40 per cent of the power consumed in the State was not metered, he said the Escoms were told to install a meter for the rural distribution transformers serving the irrigation pump sets before this December to calculate the total quantum of energy consumed by IP sets.