A proposal by THE Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company Limited (GESCOM) to the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) for increasing power tariff by 156 paisa a unit for all category of consumers was strongly opposed.
In a consultative meeting of power users convened by KERC at the district administrative complex here on Thursday, almost all consumers appealed to KERC to reject the proposal.
In his presentation on the tariff revision proposal, Rahul Pandve, Managing Director of GESCOM, put the projected revenue deficit of ₹1,196.89 crore, which included the pending deficit of ₹982.29 crore and the projected deficit of ₹214.60 crore for 2021-22, and appealed to the commission to allow the hike .
GESCOM projected the revenue of ₹5,950.74 crore against the projected expenditure of ₹6,165.34 crore for 2021-22.
Opposing the proposal, Deepak Gala, president of Hyderabad Karnataka Environment Awareness and Protection Organisation, argued that GESCOM’s mismanagement and the government’s disinterest in paying its dues and interests on dues was the primary reason for revenue deficiency. He appealed to the KERC not to allow the GESCOM to transfer the burden it created to genuine consumers.
“Additional capital expenditure incurred on providing power supply to Ganga Kalyan Irrigation Pumpsets was ₹289.92 crore, which is in addition to the amount paid by various State-owned corporations. The GESCOM should have collected the dues from the government, as it does with ordinary consumers, instead of transferring it to the genuine consumers,” he said.
Mr. Gala also questioned the legality of the government’s decision to waive the interest amount on the dues payable by gram panchayats to GESCOM for street lighting and water supply projects.
A representative from the Hyderabad Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry told the KERC that the industrial units in the region were going through hard times in the backdrop of COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown and appealed the KERC not to allow the hike.
Many people in the meeting expressed dissatisfaction over the functioning of GESCOM and its negligence in addressing the power users’ problems.
In his concluding remarks, Shambhu Dayal Meena, chairman of KERC, directed the GESCOM officials to hold power users’ consultative meetings on a regular basis and develop a grievance redressal mechanism for time-bound resolutions of problems.
“Develop a mobile-based application for registering complaints from the power users and their speedy disposal integrating a consumer feedback system. Whenever there is a new circulation, direction or order from the government or KERC, convene a meeting of your officers to sensitise them on it. If you have any confusion in interpreting a direction, you can always approach the KERC and we will resolve it. Hold the concerned Executive Engineer or Assistant Executive Engineer responsible for any power-related accidents in his/her area,” Mr. Meena told Mr. Pandve.