Gone are the days when advisories were issued to save power. It’s a reverse scenario now. Consumers are being persuaded to consume as much power as they can and policies are being drafted to this end.
With the changing scenario in Punjab from acute shortage to being surplus, Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) is working out tariff order for the current fiscal (2016-17) to motivate consumers in the state to consume more power.
PSERC is also planning to relax peak load exemption charges (PLEC), according to which, as per current norms any industry seeking power during peak load restrictions imposed by PSPCL is required to pay extra to get power.
The norms of unauthorised use of electricity (UUE) are also being reworked. Currently, a consumer using power for the purpose other than the connection has been allotted invites a penalty. “We have formed a committee to study the matter and plan to relax norms,” PSERC chairman DS Bains told HT.
Also, PSERC has decided to advise Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) in the tariff order expected by the end of this month to start aggressive marketing of 50,000 million units of power available during the year of which 18,000 million units are surplus.
With installed capacity touching 11,000 megawatts, and peak load demand in the forthcoming peak season expected to touch 10,500 megawatts, PSPCL still has 500 megawatts surplus.
PSERC has also instituted a study to the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, to suggest the strategy for sale of projected power available in Punjab to other states and even neighbouring countries, optimum pricing of power in the state to increase demand, to reduce cost of power and improving services to make a consumer-friendly scenario. The report is expected in a fortnight.
G Raghu Ram, dean, IIM, Ahmedabad, who is leading the study team, is also expected to involve an exchange programme with PSPCL to train officials and engineers to start active marketing for sale of more power.
“The challenge now is to manage more sale of power, and we are working out a tariff accordingly,” said Bains, adding that the state is power surplus during eight months in the year, except four months of paddy season. To motivate people to consume more power, in the tariff order this year, he plans to add a chapter on ease of doing business giving directions to the power corporation to cut delays in giving power connections and involving a system of computerised meter-reading.
There was a time when PSPCL used to launch different schemes for saving power, which is no longer on its agenda. In 2008, a campaign was launched by PSPCL to distribute energy-saving fluorescent lamps to consumers, which is not being run with the same enthusiasm now.
Incentive scheme rejected
A scheme was proposed by PSERC in 2014-15 to offer incentive for consuming more power, by cutting cost of power by Re 1 per unit for the amount of power consumed more than the previous year.
The scheme was discontinued the next year after PSPCL objected, saying it would hit their revenue generation. “We will introduce a policy so that the power corporation doesn’t suffer loss of revenue and the consumers also benefit,” Bains told HT.