MESCOM to increase power tariff

8:37 PM, Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022

mescomMangaluru  : Consumers vehemently opposed Mangalore Electricity Supply Company’s plea to increase power tariff by an average of Rs 1.33 per unit and urged the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) to direct the company to efficiently manage its finances.

MESCOM Managing Director Prashanth Kumar Mishra said that the company’s finances have been affected by the pandemic situation as power consumption by industries sector got reduced substantially. While the company expects a revenue of Rs4,081.72 crore in 2022-23, its expenditures are estimated to be at Rs 4,799.93 crore, leaving a shortfall of Rs 721.21 crore, Mr. Mishra told the commission during a public hearing here.

Commission Chairman H.M. Manjunath and Member M.D. Ravi conducted the hearing.

He said that MESCOM spent 76% of its revenue towards power purchase while staff cost accounted for 11%, maintenance 5%, interest 4% and depreciation 4%. The company has reduced distribution losses from 11.5 in 2017 to 8.75 in December 2021.

MESCOM should not burden the consumer for its failure to recover government dues, Rs 1,175 crore outstanding and Rs 1,073 projected, argued Venkatagiri from Sagar. The Government should pay the amount to MESCOM to avoid any tariff hike, he said.

Mr. Venkatagiri also said that MESCOM’s claim that it provided 4,772 million units of power a year towards agriculture pumpsets appeared fallacious and needs to be properly audited.

Representing farmers, Satyanarayana Udupa from Udupi said that MESCOM is getting only 1,075 million units of power, which is cheaper, from hydel sources, despite its service area producing massive hydel power. It gets 900 million units out of the total requirement of 5,000 million units from costly sources, he said and urged KERC to rationalise power purchase sources.

Ramakrishna Sharma from the same sector urged KERC to direct MESCOM to properly evaluate power consumption by irrigation pumpsets.

B.A. Nazeer, representing MSMEs, said that like MESCOM, every sector has suffered during COVID-19 while the industrial sector has almost collapsed. Instead of helping MSMEs to tide over the crisis, MESCOM intends to further burden them by hiking tariff, which KERC should not accept, he said.

Consumers from every sector took serious objections to MESCOM’s proposal to increase fixed charges from ₹95 per kW to ₹170 even as Mr. Venkatagiri said that there is no transparency in the utilisation of the funds so collected. MESCOM should be directed to provide proper accounts for them, he said.

Mr. Mishra said that the funds are being utilised for capital expenditure to provide infrastructure for distribution.

[Commission Member] Mr. Ravi said that fixed charges is a pan-India issue and this has been brought to the notice of the Union Energy Ministry.

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