Escoms must inform consumers in advance about shutdown

Responding to the barrage of complaints by consumers against enforcing load-shedding in an abrupt manner, the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) on Monday issued a directive to all five Escoms in the State asking them to try load-shedding only as a last resort, after exhausting all other options, and also to keep consumers informed about disruptions in advance.

The directive, issued along with the tariff order-2014 by the commission, prescribes various steps to be adopted before arriving at the decision to enforce load-shedding, in a bid to bring in transparency.

According to the directive, it is mandatory for Escoms to review the availability and demand for power for the next month during the last week of the previous month. If there is any unavoidable situation leading to the forecast of load-shedding, there has to be a consultation among all Escoms to examine the possibility of inter-sharing of power among them to manage the load. Despite this, if there is a need for load-shedding, the Escoms have to get permission from the KERC by submitting their forecast details for the forthcoming month.

The Escoms have also been told to conduct a daily review of power availability and demand situation for each of its subdivisions for the efficient management of supply situation, with a micro-approach.

The Escoms have been directed to inform consumers at least 24 hours in advance about the planned shutdown of power due to maintenance works. Similarly, when the load-shedding is being enforced due to sudden shortage of power, the Escoms have been advised to inform consumers about the likely time of restoration of power supply through SMSes and other modes of communication. The KERC has also taken exception to subjecting only a certain areas to load-shedding. There must be a rotation of areas being subjected to load-shedding, the commission said.

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