Bescom to launch charging stations for electric vehicles

The first station is likely to be ready on February 15

February 07, 2018 07:40 pm | Updated February 08, 2018 06:23 pm IST

 A file photo of an EV being charged. Bengaluru will get 11 charging stations overall.

A file photo of an EV being charged. Bengaluru will get 11 charging stations overall.

If switching over to an electric vehicle (EV) has been on your mind, but reservations about supporting infrastructure has been a concern, the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) has good news.

The power utility will launch fast-charging stations for electric vehicles from this month, and Bescom claims to be the first government power utility in the country to do so.

On Wednesday, Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar announced that the first such station will be opened in the Bescom office at K.R. Circle, and Bengaluru will get 11 stations overall. The first station is likely to be launched on February 15.

Bescom Managing Director P. Rajendra Cholan said the power utility would look at expanding phase-wise, as not many electric vehicles are in use at present. “There are only two manufacturers as of now and the vehicles give a mileage of around 140 km. Most people use EVs only to move around the city. So there is not much demand,” he said.

Lack of clarity on tariff

Bescom has not specified how much EV users will have to shell out at the charging stations. The company has sought to introduce two slabs in its petition to the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC), which is yet to take a call on it.

Bescom has proposed a ‘Time of Day tariff’ system under which motorists can be charged ₹4.5 per unit during day time and ₹4 at night.

Bescom staff to get EVs

According to the Transport Department, of the over 72 lakh vehicles on Bengaluru’s roads, only 6,246 are EVs. The corresponding numbers for the State are 1.87 crore and 11,836.

Aiming to reverse the trend, Bescom will start from home. Staff of the power utility will start replacing their fossil fuel-based vehicles with EVs.

“We have decided to replace around 100 vehicles used for official purposes, by staff in the rank of executive engineer and above, with EVs. We will start by replacing around 10 vehicles,” said Mr. Cholan.

However, there is no plan to include the vehicles used by linemen and women in this initiative. Mr. Cholan said there are 650 such vehicles, which are used for fixing technical glitches and other such emergencies, but, as of now, EV manufacturers do not build vehicles of these specifications.

‘We have surplus power’

Rising temperatures are not the only summer-specific phenomenon that people fret over; intermittent power supply, especially during the peak examination season, has been a pet peeve for years. But the Energy Department has promised there will not be any disruption this summer.

Bescom Managing Director P. Rajendra Cholan said Bescom’s peak demand is around 4,200 MW per day, but the power available is around 5,500.

“We have surplus power now. The State is already purchasing short-term power of 900 MW per day. Around 600 MW is coming from the Pavagada Solar Park and another 800 MW is expected in another 15 days,” he said.

He pegged complaints of unscheduled power cuts from several localities even during the winter months to system constraints. “In some areas, such as as HSR Layout, Koramangala and Whitefield, the growth in demand has been around 25% against the average 10%. The KPTCL is initiating steps to resolve the problem of system constraints,” he added.

Fast-track service launched

Be it applying for a new connection, a name transfer, a tariff change or asking for a reduction in load, the ‘Savi-Kirana’ programme, which intends to ‘fast track’ these services by enabling them online and offline through help desks at 48 sub-divisions, was launched on Wednesday.

The Fast Track New Connection Application promises to not only cut down on the number of days these services would be delivered in earlier (which was nothing less than a month to 45 days), but also deliver to the doorstep of consumers.

Applications for power supply to a building with a total load not exceeding 7.5 KW, for both domestic and commercial consumers, will be processed within 24 hours, officials said.

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