In a setback to the implementation of the multiyear tariff (MYT) concept in the city, the Chandigarh electricity department has expressed its inability to constitute a demandside management (DSM) cell, which is mandatory for enforcement of the concept.
Citing staff shortage as the reason, the department has communicated its helplessness to the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC).
According to official records, the department has witnessed a depletion of staff strength by about 33% from 2001 till date. There were a total of 1,540 employees in the department in 2001.
At present, there are 1,040 employees working at different levels in the department, against the sanctioned strength of 1,890.
UT superintending engineer MP Singh said they did not have the required staff to constitute the demand-side management cell. “The department is grappling with staff shortage and we are not in a position to put additional burden on the existing staff,” said MP Singh.
The department has been at the receiving end earlier as well for its failure to hire new staff. On the request of the department, JERC in 2012, had approved recruitment of 207 employees, but the department made only three fresh recruitments.
Under the multi-year tariff (MYT) concept, the tariff determination exercise will be undertaken once in five years. At present, the revision of tariff is done annually.
The commission had planned to implement the MYT concept from the next financial year, but with the delay at the end of UT electricity department, the commission will be forced to push the deadline further.
In June last year, the commission had set a time frame of one month for the formation of the cell with an objective of power shortage mitigation, seasonal peak reduction, cost effective energy savings and lowering the cost of electricity.
The DSM cell will be provided with necessary authority and resources to execute the functions assigned to it under the joint electricity regulatory commission (demand side management) regulations, 2013.
The cell would be responsible for various activities such as load research and development of baseline data, formulation of DSM plan, design and development of DSM projects, including cost-benefit analysis, plans for implementation, monitoring and reporting, and for measurement and verification.
There are nearly 2-lakh consumers falling under different categories, of which 1.75 lakh fall in the domestic category, but only about 6,000 have declared their load. Over the years, due to non-declaration of the actual load, the department is facing losses and problem of overloading of transformers.