Hyderabad

Electricity unions seek power tariff hike

Power tariff unchanged in State for the past five years and, for some slabs, it’s for more than a decade

Half a dozen electricity employees unions have insisted with the Telangana State Electricity Regulatory Commission that power tariff hike is a necessity to protect the interests of power distribution companies (DISCOMS) as increase in their input cost could be offset only by tariff hike.

At the meeting of the State advisory committee of the commission under the chairmanship of T. Sriranga Rao recently, the unions highlighted that the tariff increase will reduce the financial burden on DISCOMS.

It may be recalled that the power tariff had remained unchanged in the State for the past five years and, for some slabs, it’s more than a decade.

Also, the State government did not file its annual revenue requirement with the commission either for the current or the next years.

Financial crunch

M.A. Vazeer of Telangana State Power Employees Union highlighted that the DISCOMS face severe financial crunch and as a result they availed loans to pay salaries of staff.

Mr. Vazeer requested the commission to take up the matter with the State government.

Staff shortage

The unions also raised shortage of manpower, particularly field staff, which affected supply of quality power. The last recruitment of junior line men was in 2007. On the other hand, the installed generation capacity in the State had increased from 6,500 MW when Telangana was formed to the current level of 14,000 MW.

Mounting power dues of government departments was another point raised by unions with a rider that the commission recommend advance payments by them.

E. Srinivasa Chary of the Energy Conservation Mission of the Institution of Engineers said 99% of the 25 lakh agricultural pumpsets in the State were rewound and consume more power. There is scope for reduction in power consumption by 30% and a saving of ₹ 2,563 crore if the pumpsets are replaced.

Recommendations

He recommended the appointment of Energy Service Companies for replacement of existing pumpsets with energy efficient ones. A pilot project could be taken up to ascertain savings and field-level difficulties.

Procurement of energy efficient equipment with five star rating should be made mandatory for licencees. The schemes proposed for conductor replacement should be taken up keeping in view the future load growth also. The members voiced concern at increase in accidents due to poor distribution infrastructure of low tension power lines and lack of awareness among field staff to check the problem.

They suggested side arms for LT lines passing close to residential premises.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 1:41:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/electricity-unions-seek-power-tariff-hike/article30804574.ece

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