The petition filed by the UT electricity department before the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) was challenged by consumers, who termed the proposed 45% tariff hike unjustified.
City-based advocate Ajay Jagga termed the department's petition untenable as petition maintained that appropriate accounts on commercial principles and audit reports for 2010-11 and 2011-2012 were not available. He urged the commission to reject the petition. Jagga also pointed out that the department had not paid interest to the consumers on their security deposits since 1966.
He further pointed that according to the petition, the department had failed to get the energy audit done. "When they are not sure of the energy consumption, how can they submit the consumption details in the petition," asked Jagga.
Industry Association of Chandigarh (IAC) president Arun Kumar Mahajan said the service line in the case of large supply industrial consumers was designed on the basis of contract demand and not on connected load. All large supplies have been provided with electronic meters, which record the maximum demand at any point of time and these readings are easily available for checking purposes. "In this light, the concept of sanctioned load loses its relevance.
Thus, in case of large supply industrial consumers there should be no levy of load surcharges/penalty for exceeding their connected load," said Mahajan.
Demand for MDI meters
AL Agarwal, a city resident, raised the issue of trhe installation of meters with maximum demand indicators (MDI). Supporting Agarwal's suggestion, consumers demanded that charges be levied according to MDI meters and not as per connected load. Representatives of various bodies called for a need to check power theft.
A representative of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) proposed a revenue generation model by offer advertising space. It was suggested that the department should start carrying advertisements on electricity bills and on its infrastructure. JERC chairman was also apprised of the irregularities in distribution of power in colonies.
Doctors demand parity with other professions
Medicos Legal Action Group told the commission chairman that doctors who were running their clinics from residential areas were covered under commercial category, while other professionals like advocates were charged at domestic rates.
Meanwhile, the proposal to hike power charges for private educational institutions also did not find any support. City-based RTI activist RK Garg said that after the imposition of property tax, increase in power tarrif would be another blow that would further burden unaided schools. The burden might be passed on to the parents.
Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) demanded that transmission and distribution losses be kept between 5% and 7%. Vinod Joshi, senior member of CBM, said the administration should not be putting the burden of subsidised rates for certain categories on to the general consumers; they should be borne by the electricity department or Chandigarh administration.
Electricity department grappling with staff, material shortage
The UT Powermen Union raised the issue of staff and material shortage in the department. Officials of the UT electricity department assured to look into their demands.