Power bills for the Narmada water supply project, one of the biggest money guzzlers for the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC), may soon climb down.
The state government has set the ball rolling for an energy audit aimed at identifying and defusing power hot spots so as to pare electricity bills.
Put together, the three phases of the Narmada project run up monthly power bills amounting to nearly Rs 13-14 crore. Against this, the corporation nets only around Rs 3-4 crore in water tax revenues per month.
Mayor Krishna Murari Moghe has voiced concern over the skewed income-expense ratio on more than one occasion. Moghe, in fact, lobbied the government for waiving surcharge levied on Narmada power bills citing high costs incurred in ferrying water from Jalud to Indore, a distance of over 70 km.
Now, the Urban Administration and Development Department (UADD) is preparing to carry out an energy audit in Indore and other cities to cut down costs of supplying water and delivery of other civic services.
It has appointed JC Yadav, a retired Superintending Engineer of the MPEB, as energy advisor and the preliminary survey work task has been assigned to a Nagpur-based firm.
"The work has been divided into two categories; low tension consisting of streetlights, tubewells, Yeshwant Sagar and Bilawali. The other is for Narmada headworks including pumping and substations for the first, second and third phase of the Narmada," said an officer who asked not to be identified.
A delegation of the Nagpur-based firm had already surveyed streetlights, tubewells during a visit to the city around a fortnight ago.
Project Implementation Unit (PIU) officials said the third phase offered little scope for power-saving initiatives although bills could be reduced by focusing on the first and second phase of the Narmada.
"Technology has progressed by leaps and bounds since Narmada I and II pipelines were laid in the ‘70s," said an engineer.