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Power consumers gear up for public hearing

Special Correspondent


‘Proposal for

90-paise hike in tariff for all consumers is unscientific’


MYSORE: Non-governmental organisations and consumer groups in the city are bracing up for a confrontation with the Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) over the tariff hike plea made by the former to the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC).

While many individuals and organisations have filed their objections with the KERC, consumers are preparing their objections and fine-tuning their cases to be present during a public hearing that will be held at 11 a.m. at the Institution of Engineers on Tuesday.

The CESC’s proposal for a 90-paise hike in tariff for all consumers has been termed “unscientific” as there are different parameters for various categories.

However, there are fresh grounds on which new objections will be filed. It has been pointed out that the CESC has sought a tariff hike on the grounds that additional amount of energy would have to be purchased in the next three years.

But the KERC itself had not approved the load forecast and hence there was no justification for the proposed hike, according to the NGOs.

The increase in demand might be due to increase in “un-metered consumption.” But the CESC could not transfer the burden onto the consumers, they said.

Cost of supply

A KERC study made in 2000 mandated that service to each class of consumers should be based on the actual cost of supply. But the tariff in subsequent years was not based on the actual cost of supply, but only on the average cost of supply, the NGOs said.

“CESC’s contention that till an appropriate model is developed, it is inevitable to proceed on the average cost should be rejected,” the NGOs said.

Among the other arguments against the proposed hike is that universal metering has not been done according to the Commission’s directive and as required under Section 55 of the Indian Electricity Act, 2003, and hence supplies without metering are “illegal.”

Balance sheets

Calling for audited balance sheets of the CESC, experts said there were anomalies and omissions in the data provided and an unexplained increase of 280 per cent in expenditure.

There was no explanation for the Rs. 630 crore KPTCL has been ordered to pay back to ESCOMS.

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