Conserve this year or face power cuts, says BESCOM’s Manivannan

The young and dynamic P Manivannan is currently Managing Director of BESCOM, Bengaluru’s power supply provider. He took over in October 2010. Manivannan, 38, is a 1998-batch IAS officer and has served as Commissioner of Hubli-Dharwar Municipal Corporation and Deputy Commissioner of Mysore City Corporation.

Media reporting of Manivannan’s work has given him a reputation as a tough and upright officer in his previous postings; he has also been called ‘demolition man’ for his stand against illegal constructions. Citizen Matters caught up with Manivannan to discuss BESCOM’s 2011 plans for Bengaluru. This interview was conducted via email.

Is the rate hike approval from KERC final? What are the final rate hikes by BESCOM for residential and commercial consumers?

P Manivannan: BESCOM cannot comment on whether the tariff announced by KERC is final, because it does not come under our purview. BESCOM had asked the KERC for an increase of 75 paisa/unit. KERC has ordered for a hike of 30.75 paisa (the hikes across different slabs vary. 30.75 paise is the average of these hikes).

We are happy with the hike and are not asking for further changes. After government’s approval, hopefully the new tariffs will be effective from this week. (For the new tariffs, please scroll down to the end of this interview)

There are continuing power cuts in some areas these days..

There should not be any power cuts now as there is an order to stop power cuts for the whole city. There is only periodic maintenance being done once every month in each area. A log of power interruptions are being maintained in the Feeder Interruption Monitoring System. This system was launched two weeks back on a test basis.

What is the latest on the supply-demand gap for the city going into 2011? Is there any bad news citizens must look out for going into the warmer months of 2011?

The sharp growth in the demand needs proportionate investment to meet that demand. As we are not revenue surplus, gap exists. Demand is very dynamic; for eg, on a very hot day everyone will switch on fans and the demand will be very high – it would go up by 13-15%, but the supply can be met only by 6-7%. So on an average there is a gap of 6-7% between demand and supply.

We are relying so much on purchases from outside. But, this summer the situation may not be bad, as the government is purchasing extra power. At the same time, we earnestly request the citizens to conserve the power during the summer. The cost of power during summer rises up to Rs. 9 also.

Any plans for scheduled load-shedding for the upcoming three months.

Scheduled load shedding occurs in two ways. First, we have shutdowns for regular maintenance. As the system is old, we need to go for maintenance more frequently.  Such maintenance takes 6-8 hrs normally and is announced.

Second, we have power cuts, due to shortage in the power. As of now, we do not foresee power cut, assuming a 10% growth in the power consumption compared to last year.

But, if citizens consume more than that, we have no option, but to cut the power, as we are not ready for more than 10% increase in the consumption. We may keep in mind that for every 1% of the increase in power purchase the rate increases exponentially, and becomes unaffordable. Hence, if the citizens use power wisely, we will not have power cut at all.

What are your thoughts and plans on BESCOM taking adding pre-paid for billing for residential consumers?

It is good for BESCOM. But, the consumer has to go through some inconvenience, as it is considered as temporary power. We will be requesting KERC to change the regulations for providing power.

After the expiry of the preloaded currency, the power supply will cut off automatically. The consumer has to approach Sub-Division office for payments. Even though consumer makes the payment, there are incidences wherein he/she has to wait for a longer period to get new vendor code. A 20-digit code has to be generated and entered to the meter which is tedious and time consuming. Power supply is resumed only when the meter accepts the code number. Due to the above constraints, consumers are reluctant to avail temporary power supply through prepaid meters.

A good IT backbone will make pre-paid connections easier. Internet facility and a service provider for procuring code numbers have to be made available at the vending station round the clock.

At present, there are 51.40 lakh consumers are under domestic tariff and hence for providing pre-paid meters BESCOM has to incur huge expenditure.

Your thoughts and plans on variable cost unit pricing at the retail level for e.g. units consumed at peak hours being priced higher than units consumed at non-peak hours. 

Variable cost pricing will reduce the distortion in tariff. It needs to be implemented at the earliest. The difficulty is to monitor the system real-time. It needs huge investments. Already part of the work is done. The remaining part will take more than 2-3 years. But pilot projects are already on way. It is too early to comment on that. May be next year we will be able to talk more about it.

BESCOM’s New Tariffs

a) Lighting/combined lighting, heating and motor installations of residential houses

(i) Applicable to areas coming under Bruhat Bangalore Mahangara Palike (BBMP), Davangere city Municipal Corporation and all Urban Local Bodies.

The fixed charges are Rs 20 per month for those who opt for for houses that require only lighting with power allocation of 1KW. For AEH (All Electric Houses), the sanctioned load is usually 3 KW, with fixed charges of 80 Rs per month would be levied. (Rs.30 is charged for every additional KW sanctioned.)

Energy charges (residential)

 

For 0 – 30 units (Lifeline consumption)

210 Ps/unit

31 to 100 units

320 Ps /unit

101 to 200 units

420 Ps/unit

Above 200 units

500 Ps/unit

(ii) Applicable to Areas under Village Panchayats

The fixed charges are Rs 10 per month for those who opt for for houses that require only lighting with power allocation of 1KW. For AEH (All Electric Houses) the load is usually 3 KW, with fixed charges of 50 Rs per month would be levied. (Rs.20 per additional KW sanctioned.) 

Energy charges (commerical)

 

For 0 – 30 units (Lifeline consumption)

200 Ps/unit

31 to 100 units

 300 Ps/unit

101 to 200 units

 400 Ps/unit

Above 200 units

 450 Ps/unit

b) Applicable to Commercial Lighting, Heating and Motor Power installations

(i) Applicable in areas coming under Bruhat Bangalore Mahangara Palike (BBMP), Davangere city Municipal Corporation and all areas under urban local bodies

Fixed charges

Rs.  35 per KW 

Energy charges

 

For 0 – 50 units

560 Ps /unit

Above 50  units

680 Ps /unit

Demand based tariff (optional) where sanctioned load

Is above 5 KW but below 50 KW

Fixed charges

Rs. 50 per KW

Energy charges

As above

(ii) Applicable in Areas under Village Panchayats

Fixed charges

Rs.  25 per KW

Energy charges

For 0 – 50 units

540 Ps /unit

Above 50  units

640 Ps /unit

Demand based tariff (optional) where sanctioned load

Is above 5 KW but below 50 KW

Fixed charges

Rs. 40 per KW

Energy charges

As above

 

About Navya P K 241 Articles
Navya P K is a former senior staff journalist at Citizen Matters, and a freelance journalist based in Kerala.

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