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Mangaluru: Public Opposition Emerges Against MESCOM’s Plan to Increase Power Tariffs by 59 Paisa per Unit

Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (Mescom) has submitted a proposal to the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) seeking an average increase of 59 paisa per unit in electricity tariffs. At a virtual public hearing presided over by KERC chairman P Ravi Kumar, Mescom MD D Padmavathi explained that the actual cost per unit is Rs 8.91, while the company receives an average of Rs 8.32 per unit from consumers. To address the revenue deficit, Mescom proposes the tariff hike, emphasizing its necessity for maintaining quality power supply and implementing consumer-friendly initiatives.

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The existing tariff for domestic connections ranges from Rs 4.75 to Rs 7.75 per unit, and Mescom proposes raising it to Rs 5.15 to Rs 7.95 per unit. Similarly, for commercial connections, the proposed tariff increase is from Rs 8.5 to Rs 8.8 per unit, while for industries, it’s from Rs 6.10 to Rs 7.1 per unit to Rs 6.3 to Rs 7.3 per unit. Additionally, Mescom suggests a five-paisa-per-unit increase for all high-tension (HT) connections.

Padmavathi outlined that the projected expenditure for power purchases in 2024-25 is Rs 3,826.29 crore, while the expected total revenue is Rs 4,929.98 crore. However, the estimated expenditure stands at Rs 5,355.86 core, indicating a revenue deficit of Rs 351.96 crore. She appealed to the KERC to consider approving the tariff hike to address this deficit.

Despite Mescom’s justification, consumers, represented by various organizations and individuals, voiced opposition to the proposal during the public hearing. Bharatiya Kisan Sangha president Sathyanaranayana Udupa suggested that Mescom should focus on recovering dues from consumers instead of increasing tariffs. Consumer activist KN Venkatagiri Rao proposed a comprehensive report on illegal power connections, particularly for irrigation pump (IP) sets, and advocated for easier access to power connections for farmers. Social activist Hanumanth Kamath recommended reintroducing the slab system for fairer pricing, reducing transmission losses, and emphasizing dues collection instead of tariff hikes.

In recent articles, it was reported that a minimum power consumption of 500 units per month is required for rooftop solar panels, and discussions are underway regarding the implementation of the Renewable Energy Services Company (Resco) model. Additionally, Kolkata airport is considering raising paid porter charges, and the state has utilized only 52% of its proposed borrowings, citing good revenue flow from tax collections as a reason for the low borrowing.

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