‘Hike in tariff inevitable owing to high cost of power generation’

Minister for Energy D.K. Shivakumar on Tuesday said a new solar energy policy, which aims to promote solar power generation in the State in a big way, will be placed before the Cabinet on May 15.

One of the highlights of the policy was to support more solar energy projects so as to improve power generation, thereby contributing to the State’s power supply, he said.

‘Will encourage people’

Speaking to presspersons atop Chamundi Hills, the Minister said the government had proposed encouraging households and entrepreneurs to generate solar power by installing solar units on rooftops.

Defending the power tariff hike of 32 paise a unit, Mr. Shivakumar said the electricity supply companies (Escoms) had been demanding a hike for the last seven months.

The hike was inevitable in view of the increasing cost of power generation, he said and added that the tariff had been decided by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission after studying proposals and consulting the public.

He, however, said the tariff hike was not applicable to the Bhagya Jyothi scheme and to farmers’ irrigation pumpsets.

The Minister claimed that electricity generation had improved in the State.

Mr. Shivakumar refused to comment on the allegations made against him by former Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje.

He said load-shedding had been averted owing to the sudden improvement in power generation, mainly hydroelectric and wind power generation. “We had expected a scarcity of 1,000 MW owing to certain disruptions in electricity generation. However, thanks to enhanced wind speed, the grid got about 300 MW of wind energy besides 600MW to 700 MW from thermal power plants,” he said.

Replying to a question, Mr. Shivakumar said power outages occurred owing to technical snags or maintenance issues. “This is not load-shedding,” he clarified.

The government spends Rs. 6,200 crore a year to supply power to farmers’ pumpsets, he added.

‘Most promises kept’

Expressing satisfaction over the Congress government’s performance in the last one year, the Minister said it had kept most of the promises made during the elections.

Mr. Shivakumar termed the exit polls “inaccurate” and maintained that the Congress would win at least 16 seats in the State.

Earlier, he offered special puja at the Chamundeshwari temple. “I have prayed for copious rains in the State. This will help in generating adequate power,” he said.

The Minister was accompanied by local Congress leaders, including former MLA Satyanarayana and zilla panchayat president Mahadevu.

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