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Stress on quality and reliability'

Published : Jun 15, 2012 00:00 IST




KARNATAKA has been searching for multiple avenues to supply quality power to its ever-growing list of consumers in the industrial, agricultural, commercial and domestic sectors. Besides trying to augment the available power, the Karnataka government has embarked on a major reform of the power sector. As a first step, it dissolved the Karnataka Electricity Board (KEB) and, in its place, incorporated Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL).

This was followed by the constitution of the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission in November 1999. During the next phase of reforms in June 2002, the transmission and distribution business, which was until then managed by KPTCL, was unbundled and four new distribution companies were formed. KPTCL was primarily buying power from Karnataka Power Corporation Limited and independent power producers such as GMR and Jindal and selling it.

Known as electricity supply companies (ESCOMS), each of these four companies looks after distribution of electricity in a particular region of Karnataka. Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) distributes electricity in eight districts Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Kolar, Tumkur, Chitradurga, Davangere, Ramnagaram and Chikballapura covering an area of approximately 41,092 sq km with a population of over 150 lakhs. BESCOM has three operating zones Bangalore Metropolitan Area Zone, Bangalore Rural Area Zone and Chitradurga Zone.

Ashok Angadi, BESCOM's Chief Engineer (Electrical), spoke to Frontline about the company's efforts to meet the ever-increasing demand for power. Excerpts from the interview:

What is the demand and supply situation at the moment?

There are gaps between demand and supply, but the problem has been tackled by demand side management (DSM) initiatives, such as requesting consumers to use power judiciously during peak hours. Recently, a mass energy-saving programme was inaugurated by the Minister for Energy, Food and Civil Supplies to educate consumers about DSM.

How does BESCOM plan to meet the ever-increasing demand for power?

DSM is one of the important concepts adopted worldwide for optimum use of the available infrastructure/resources. BESCOM is encouraging the private, commercial and public sectors to use natural renewable energy resources so that the demand on the grid and transmission loss are reduced. BESCOM regularly educates consumers to adopt demand side reduction by using energy-efficient star-rated equipment, CFL fittings or solar-powered fittings wherever possible and to shift some of the activities to off-peak hours so that demand during peak hours is reduced.

What steps are being taken to uphold quality standards and to supply quality power?

Augmentation of capacity by increasing the number of lines and transformers is done on a regular basis depending on the load growth in order to improve the quality of power supply and prevent interruptions. Additionally, BESCOM has started 24x7 customer care centres, a centralised complaints section, and service stations equipped with additional vehicles and modern tools and equipment. Special equipment such as mobile transformers and cranes with pole-mounting facilities are being provided to minimise interruptions. The power to sanction power supply has been re-delegated to officers down the line in a bid to hasten the sanctioning process. The electronic customer relationship management [ECRM] system is being implemented in a phased manner so as to expedite the sanctioning process and to meet consumer requests for transfer of installations, change of tariff and so on. In short, BESCOM assures the consumer quality and reliability of power supply.

What methods have you adopted to increase the efficiency?

Smart grid initiatives, smart metering and online monitoring are done in a phased manner to help monitor and manage power supply problems.

How are you tackling transmission losses and pilferage?

Through the regular augmentation and monitoring of transmission lines and the adoption of high-voltage direct current we have tried to reduce transmission losses. Energy audit is done by fixing static energy meters at all transmission lines. Bare overhead conductors in slum pockets and theft-prone areas are being replaced by aerial bunched cables.

Ravi Sharma

(This story was published in the print edition of Frontline magazine dated Jun 15, 2012.)



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