GESCOM’s demand to hike power tariff comes under fire

Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission holds public meeting

The demand of the Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company (GESCOM) to hike the power tariff, by 74 paise per unit, faced criticism from residents and various associations during a public hearing held by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) at the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on Saturday.

KERC Chairman Shambu Dayal Meena and members D.M. Ravi and H.M. Manjunath conducted the hearing.

GESCOM Managing Director Ragapriya detailed the factors that had forced the company to seek power tariff revision. Ms. Ragapriya proposed an increase 74 paise per unit for consumers, and monthly fixed charges of ₹20 per kV for irrigation pump-sets and ₹10 per kV for other category consumers.

Deepak Gala, president of the Hyderabad Karnataka Environment Awareness and Protection Organisation, said that GESCOM is yet to receive ₹2,524.06 crore (including interest of ₹1,458.43 crore) from the State government.

RTI activist Siddaramaiah Hiremath said that GESCOM had failed to conduct consumer interaction meetings regularly and also failed to mention the complaints and grievances in the proceeding.

Criticising GESCOM for allegedly spending ₹32 crore in a year to take up repair works of transformers. Mr. Hiremath sought details of the transformers purchased, installed and their validity, and the company entrusted with the task of maintenance.

Providing photos of linemen attending to complaints without taking any safety measures, Mr. Hiremath accused GESCOM of not taking serious action against such violations. He alleged that GESCOM failed to follow the regulations issued by KERC.

Channabasayya Nandikol said that the industry is facing severe hardships owing to unscheduled power cuts.

He said that power is a basic component of industry structure and requested GESCOM to provide uninterrupted power supply and also demanded that the tariff be relaxed during the day [9 a.m. to 7 p.m.] instead of the night for industries.

Mr. Meena directed GESCOM officials to visit workplaces to check the violation of regulations and to direct private contractors to provide safety equipment to the workers.

The officials should identify the hazardous locations and address them quickly.

The Commission will submit its report to the State government by the end of March.

The Commission members did not respond when asked about the ₹180-crore scam in which the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had issued notices to 37 senior officials of GESCOM during 2016.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 10:25:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/gescoms-demand-to-hike-power-tariff-comes-under-fire/article30830475.ece

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