Trying their best to meet the augmenting gap between demand and supply of power, triggered by back-to-back drought, electricity supply companies (Escoms) have collectively appealed to Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) to revise power tariff in the state. As a result, come April, your monthly electricity bills are likely to leave a substantial hole in your pocket.
Shockingly, the Escoms have jointly sought a whopping Rs 1.40 extra per unit of power, the highest tariff raise in the last five years, according to sources in the KERC. The Escoms, headed by the Energy department, filed a petition to the effect with the KERC last week.
Due to repeated droughts and poor monsoons, several reservoirs that are crucial for hydroelectric power generation have gone bone dry. As a result, the hydel generation has hit an all-time low and the state is increasingly depending on thermal and wind power besides being forced to purchase power from outside. This has resulted in expenditure of the department shooting alarmingly high, thus forcing it to seek the higher tariff to sustain its operational and transmission costs.
Acknowledging that Escoms have filed tariff review petition, MK Shankaralinge Gowda, Chairman, KERC told media that they will go through the claims off the Escoms and consult other stakeholders before pronouncing the final order in March. “There is a procedure and we will notify about the Escoms’ petition in public domain and seek responses from other stakeholders. On hearing both the sides, we will deliver final order,” Shankaralinge Gowda explained.
In fact the Escoms, previous year, had sought Rs 1.02 hike in the tariff and KERC had approved only 30 paise per unit in its verdict. All these years Escoms used to seek tariff revision in few paise. However, since last year there has been a considerably hike in the tariff revision claim. As last year too KERC resolved to approve only a minimum amount against high tariff sought by the Escoms, this time it is widely discussed that KERC is likely to order higher price. A senior official of KERC revealed, “What Escoms have sought, in fact, is very high. They have also submitted reasons backing their claim. We will go through all of them and work out using our own method. After consulting with public organisations, consumer associations and general public, a final order will be pronounced by March. The new tariff will be applicable from April 2017.”
Sources in the Energy department revealed to media that neither the state government nor do Escoms have any role in determining the price of power. “KERC, set up under various provisions of constitution, determines the tariff of power. We are required to file our annual performance report and explain the apex body about the expenditure and loss incurred by us while distributing power. Based on our submission and their calculation, the price of power is determined,” a senior engineer from Bescom revealed.
Credits Bangalore Mirror