The power utility completes a decade of service
If you do not work efficiently and with transparency to increase Bescom’s revenue, then privatisation may become inevitable…This was the stern message given by Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje to Bescom employees on Wednesday on the occasion of the power utility completing a decade of service.
‘Get more returns’
“I am totally against privatisation and believe in the public sector. It is not easy to deal with private companies. But if you do not improve efficiency, a time may come when we have to shut down Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. as Escoms, including Bescom, have to pay huge arrears running into thousands of crores towards power purchase. You (employees) must give me an assurance that you will help get Bescom more returns so that we can prevent privatisation,” she said at a programme organised by Bescom in Bangalore.
She also observed that declining revenues had become a cause of concern for the distribution sector in general. She pointed out that other States and cities such as Delhi, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh had gone for privatisation of power distribution. Referring to unauthorised use of power and problems in metering that are affecting revenues, she wondered why Bescom officials have not shown seriousness in tackling the issue.
On visits to slums
“I have visited several slums where there is no official power connection, but residents have fridges and mixer-grinders running on unauthorised supply,” she said.
Ms. Karandlaje, who was earlier in charge of the Food and Civil Supplies Department, said the scheme by the department to prove the authenticity of ration cards by linking it to the Revenue Register Number of the electricity meter, had showed that several meters did not even have numbers. In some cases, their numbers had not been registered.
She called upon Bescom staff to act sternly in such cases.
Earlier, Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission Chairman M.R. Sreenivasamurthy said increasing revenue through tariff increase was not the right solution.
Expressing concern over the fact that energy losses are still hovering around 20 per cent in the State, he said the Escoms could improve their financial condition by reducing energy losses.
Mr. Sreenivasa Murthysaid Bescom should change from low-tension distribution lines to high-tension ones to bring energy losses to below 10 per cent.
He also asked the utility to develop every sub-division as a strategic business centre to facilitate performance analysis at the micro-level. He called for improving customer-service standards and taking measures for energy conservation.
Bescom Managing Director P. Manivannan and other top officials also spoke.