Bescom pins hopes on power-saving pumpsets

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B.S. Satish Kumar

Three brands identified based on tests conducted at CPRI

BANGALORE: Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) is set to launch Bescom Efficient Irrigation Pumpsets Programme (BEIPP), an ambitious scheme, said to be the first of its kind in the country for energy conservation with respect to irrigation pumpsets.

The scheme has a potential to conserve 30 per cent of the power being used by the pumpsets, which will work out to Rs. 115 crore a year if the owners of all the 5.02 lakh irrigation pumpsets in the Bescom region participate in it. Sources in Bescom told The Hindu that the savings could even touch Rs. 150 crore if the tariff offered by the private power producers is considered a benchmark for calculating the value of power saved.

The scheme, to be launched on January 17, aims at providing access to highly energy efficient irrigation pumpsets to farmers. Such a decision was taken as Bescom came to know that most of the irrigation pumpsets use up excess power.

Besides, farmers spend about Rs. 3,000 a year on the maintenance and repairs of their pumpsets.

Bescom has identified three manufacturers for selling their irrigation pumpsets under the scheme after testing the products at the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) for energy efficiency, sources said.

Although the price of these pumpsets will be higher than that of the local ones, farmers can make good the difference within two years in terms of energy saved, according to sources.

Bescom will help farmers get bank loans at around 8 per cent interest to buy these irrigation pumpsets. Besides, these energy efficient pumpsets will be available at a discount of 15 per cent with a warranty period of 18 months.

The 5.02 lakh pumpsets in Bescom region use up 3,000 million units a year, which accounts for 30 per cent of the total power used.

Bescom is aiming at reducing this to 2,000 million units. Electricity boards and supplying companies of other States are watching this experiment.

The crux of the revenue problem of energy supplying companies is that the irrigation pumpsets have been prescribed a tariff of about 54 paise per unit as against the average price of Rs. 3.80. But the revenue recovery from irrigation pumpsets is only around 5 to 7 per cent, the sources said.

Besides, a huge subsidy of Rs. 1,800 crore a year is being allocated mainly to the farm sector. Introduction of such schemes is expected to decrease the requirement of subsidy, according to sources.

Although the scheme is targeted only at agricultural sector, its success is crucial for all other sectors as any improvement in the finances of power supplying companies will reduce the fear of tariff increase.

The scheme will be implemented in the six districts of Bangalore Urban and Rural, Kolar, Tumkur, Chitradurga and Davangere districts with the technical assistance from the International Institute for Energy Conservation and International Copper Promotion Council (India).

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