Friday, October 31, 2003

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KERC converts complaint letter into `petition’
 NGO wants Bescom to pay for damaged computer

DH News Service BANGALORE, Oct 30

The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission has converted a letter written to it by a city-based NGO seeking compensation from the Bescom for damages to its computer due to alleged variation in voltage as a “petition” and commenced proceedings.

The case has aroused curiosity in the power circles as it may set a new precedence if the petition is upheld and NGO gets compensation. If that happens, Bescom would be under pressure to ensure proper supply standards as otherwise it may have to shell huge amounts of compensation to consumers whenever there is faulty service.

The Environmental Support Group of Jayanagar had written a letter to commission alleging that its computer and UPS had been damaged following sudden variation in power supply on June 6. The Group had sought a compensation of Rs 32,935. After the commission converted into a petition and sought a reply, the Bescom stated that the trouble occurred due to falling of a tree on the power line. The situation was beyond its control, it said and sought that the petition should be dismissed. It launched a counter attack by alleging that the NGO was using residential power for commercial purpose (for running office). The commission gave one week time to the NGO to reply.

SC ORDER VIOLATED? : Meanwhile, in an interesting move, the government has issued a policy direction to the KERC asking it to “rationalise” (reduce) the power tariff for Irrigation Pupmsets in Malnad districts for the year 2001-02 at the rate of Rs 300 per HP per year. This would reduce the arrears towards the power utility by about Rs 15 crore. 

The direction has raised many eye brows as the Supreme Court has only few days ago ordered that tariff should be fixed only by electricity regulatory commissions and not by governments. Though the government has cited the provisions of Central Electricity Act for issuing such a direction, it is expected to create legal problems in the wake of the Apex Court’s direction, sources in the government told Deccan Herald. In fact, the power experts are wondering whether it was proper for the government to issue a policy direction recently to increase the power tariff for IT companies by reclassifying them as commercial consumers.

4,362 OBJECTIONS: The KERC has received 4,362 objection to the KPTCL’s proposal for increasing power tariff for some categories when the deadline for filing the objections closed this evening. 


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