Tuesday, March 30, 2010

BBMP polls are over and power cuts are back

BBMP polls are over and power cuts are back

B.S. Satish Kumar
Loadshedding was lifted in run-up to polls
Bangalore faced loadshedding of an hour in most areas on Monday

State's daily power consumption hovering around 142 million units

BANGALORE: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike elections are over. So too is the “round-the-clock” power supply bonanza that had been extended to Bangalore during the run-up to the elections. The load shedding in Bangalore, which had been lifted ever since the elections were announced for the civic body, was back on Monday, within 24 hours of the election.

Bangalore faced loadshedding of an hour in most areas on Monday, and in some areas even more. Before the announcement of BBMP elections, the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) had announced a load shedding of two hours a day in Bangalore to make up for the power shortage and increase in demand triggered by summer heat. However, the load shedding was reduced to an hour soon after there were clear indications of the elections to the civic body being held. Within a few days after the announcement of election date, even the one-hour load shedding was lifted silently without any official word.

This is not the first time that load shedding has been suspended after elections are announced.

Even during the campaign for byelections to eight Assembly constituencies in 2008, the power supply had seen temporary improvement in the eight taluks that went to polls.

Said Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry's Energy Committee chairman M.G. Prabhakar: “We can understand and appreciate the role of technical factors in power supply, but not that of political factors.” He hoped that the Karnataka State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) would take note of this, adding that such alteration in power supply hours was in violation of the conditions on which the licence has been issued to Bescom by the power regulator for distribution of power.

“As per norms, the power utility should take permission from the KERC and inform the general public if it has to impose load shedding or change power supply hours. Before the elections, the power utility informed people through media advertisements that it would impose two-hour load shedding in Bangalore. But, subsequently, it did not announce why load shedding was lifted during the election campaign, and why it was re-imposed after the election,” he said. The KERC was already looking into a case filed a few months ago by the FKCCI against the utility for resorting to load shedding without the permission of regulator and informing the general public.

Meanwhile, the State is facing a serious power shortage and its daily power consumption is hovering around a high of 142 million units as the demand for power is shooting up with the prolonged dry spell and scorching summer heat.

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