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Pay and use may become the maxim in the power supply sector too. Apartment complexes with more than 200 units and industries may have the option of buying prepaid meters in future. The move proposed by Bescom aims to benefit residents who stay out of home for long and wonder why they should pay the power bill.
“At present, even when consumers are not using electricity, they end up paying maintenance charges via postpaid meters. Once prepaid meters are installed, residents can buy power when required and needn’t pay maintenance fee,” said N Rajendra Cholan, managing director, Bescom. A prepaid meter is expected to cost Rs 4,000-5,000.
The proposed system will help solve problems of power pilferage, meter tampering, revenue leakage and will help manage peak- hour crisis. The project was recently started on a pilot basis in the Indiranagar subdivision, where old meters were replaced with prepaid ones. Changing meters for 2,500 connections in Indiranagar has augmented Bescom’s revenues by 30%.
“Sanctioned load in some cases is different from actual usage. Even the problem of tampered metres can be tackled through prepaid meters,” officials said. Bescom is in talks with the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) to take forward the proposal.
Vidhana Soudha to get solar panels
If all goes well, Vidhana Soudha, the centre of power in Karnataka, may become a showpiece of generating electricity from alternative sources. Bescom has called for tenders to set up solar panels on select government buildings, including Vidhana Soudha, to make them self-sufficient in terms of power generation and consumption. The structures include Raj Bhavan, Legislators’ Home, Vakilara Sangha, Visvesvaraya Tower and MS Building.
“Government institutions end up paying 10-20% of the principal amount as interest for delayed bill payments. This initiative of solar power generation can reduce extra payment from the government exchequer,” said Cholan. Bescom is spending Rs 66 crore for this project alone.
Spike in power consumption
The daily power consumption of Bengaluru, which stood at 2200 MW in January and February, has gone up to 2450-2600 MW in April. The figure was 2250-2350 MW in April 2016. The increased consumption is due to 10% new connections and increased usage of ACs and fans, officials said.
SMS scheme: Consumers play truant
Bescom authorities said consumer co-operation is necessary for people-friendly initiatives to bear fruit. “We had announced a scheme to inform consumers about scheduled power cuts in advance through SMS but found that only 20% of the cellphone numbers provided by consumers were valid. We wonder why consumers are not sharing their actual numbers with us,” said Cholan.
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