Like all economic activities, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) too saw metered sales plummet last year. Post lockdown, HT sales reduced by 24.5% from April to November when compared to 2019–20 financial year, and LT sales by 9.5% for the same period, officials said. Senior Bescom officials said this was the biggest drop in sales seen in recent years.
Apart from the obvious dip in commercial and industrial activities owing to the outbreak of the pandemic, the subsequent lockdown and the general chaos that has ensued since, domestic consumption too saw a marked reduction.
“Those who were from outside the State vacated their accommodation here and went back to their home towns as they had the work from home option. This could be one of the reasons. Even today, many PG accommodation facilities are vacant,” an official pointed out.
The power utility recently filed a tariff revision petition with the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) seeking an average ₹1.39 per unit hike, and lower metered sales was one of the reasons cited to justify the hike.
Power purchase cost
According to Bescom, its major expenditure is power purchase, the cost of which accounts for nearly 84% of the total expenditure. The average power purchase cost for FY 2020–21 is ₹5.91/unit as against the KERC-approved power purchase cost of ₹5.39/unit. The increase in power purchase cost cited is ₹844.52 crore.
Bescom’s tariff revision petition has proposed to introduce non-telescopic tariffs for domestic consumers owing to the power surplus in the State, pitching it as an advantage for consumers whose consumption is below 200 units.
With an eye on wooing HT consumers back to the grid, encouraging them to use more electricity and tackle those who are opting for open access too, Bescom has proposed a slew of measures. Among them is an incentive scheme for HT industrial consumers whose consumption exceeds 1 lakh or 2 lakh units. For those whose consumption in a month for the current year is 10% more than the average consumption of the previous year, a discounted rate will be offered.
It has also sought to increase fixed charges for HT consumers opting for open access.
In November, the KERC had approved an average 40 paise per unit hike for the ongoing financial year. The delay in announcement was a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, owing to which the KERC had decided to not impose the hike retrospectively, while maintaining that the arrears would be recovered in the coming financial years.