Last public hearing on power tariff revision petition held in Tiruchi

The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission will, if necessary, consider changes in the slabs proposed by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board in its tariff revision petition, commission chairman S.Kabilan has said.

“If we think different slabs are necessary, we will deal with the issue,” he said, answering a query while speaking to reporters after the last of four public hearings on the TNEB's tariff revision petition here on Thursday.

He also indicated that the Commission would consider a demand for equitable supply of power to all parts of the State. Several speakers at the public hearing found fault with the TNEB for exempting Chennai from load shedding and demanded that all consumers be treated equally. “This is an issue of managing the available power and is best left to the TNEB. All the same, we will deal with the issue too,” he said.

The Commission would hold discussions with large consumers, such as Southern Railway, and officials of the government, before giving its decision by May or June.

Free power

Responding to pleas for continuation of free power supply to agricultural connections made by several representatives of farmers organisations at the public hearing, C.P.Singh, Chairman, TNEB, clarified that no change has been proposed in the free power given to the agricultural sector. “Whoever is getting free power now will continue to get it,” he said.

On complaints of erratic supply and the quality of power, Mr.Singh said the demand has increased over the past few weeks and generation has been affected in a few places. Yet, nine hours supply was being given to agricultural connections and 21 hours supply for domestic connections (except Chennai). All necessary steps were being taken to ensure that the current supply levels were sustained.

Farmers protest

Earlier, farmers' representatives strongly protested certain views expressed by S.Pushpavanam, Secretary, Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu, on the issue of free power given to farm connections during the public hearing.

Mr.Pushpavanam alleged that the free power was being misused by some farmers, drawing flak from farmers' leaders.

A group of members of the People's Arts and Literary Association and a few other organisations caused a brief flutter at the hearing when they raised slogans against the proposed tariff hike and staged a walk-out.

Several speakers at the hearing insisted that the TNERC avoid the revision, while some suggested that those consuming up to 400 units for two months be exempt from the revision. Reducing transmission/distribution losses, banning/reducing lavish illumination by commercial establishments and tapping of alternative energy sources were other demands put forward at the hearing. A plea to treat private hospitals on par with educational institutions, instead of being charged at commercial rates, was also made on behalf of the Indian Medical Association.