Panaji: Energy Minister Ramkrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar said on Wednesday that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will decide whether to implement the tariff hike approved by the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) , the statutory body that regulates the electricity sector of Goa.
TOI had reported on April 3 that the JERC had recommended an 8% electricity tariff increase for domestic consumers and an average tariff increase of 1.6% for all categories of consumers.
When asked, Dhavalikar said, “JERC gave us a lot of instructions. I asked them for a file.
He added that he wanted to obtain the consent of the Chief Minister. “Any hike should be brought to the attention of the chief minister who is the finance minister and if he agrees, only then will we initiate the procedure,” Dhavalikar said.
Asked about the very serious problem of non-functional and inadequate street lighting in the state, which prevents motorists from seeing the roads at night, Dhavalikar said he would look into the matter and return in eight days.
Dhavalikar said no load shedding has taken place in Goa but the state may start load shedding especially during the summer season. “Now we’re going to have to do it because of the tourists and the heat,” he said, adding the department will assess the situation in May.
The situation in Goa compared to other states is much better, he said.
“In Andhra Pradesh, industries don’t even work for five hours a day, sometimes due to load shedding. This happens because of the shortage of coal. We are much better than other states, said Dhavalikar, adding that the main problem is that Goa does not generate its own electricity but depends on other states.
Asked about people in the pockets having to go days without power during heavy rains and cyclones, Dhavalikar said revenue powers had been granted to each executive engineer but they were not using them to the full.
The department is one of the revenue departments of Goa, he said, adding that instructions have passed from the power of the secretary to consumers to issue bills on time every month to generate revenue for the department.
He said instructions had been given to all assistant engineers to allow all requests for login name changes, load increases and most importantly, login changes from domestic to commercial by now. April 25.
“This will bring immediate revenue to the department. Converting domestic connections to business connections will triple revenue,” he said.
He also said that instructions had been sent to clear all pending invoices from contractors up to Rs 5 crore on a first come, first served basis as invoices received in the accounts department.
He held a meeting with the Food Secretary, Chief Electrical Engineer, Supervising Engineers and all Executive Engineers from all divisions of the department to understand monsoon preparedness, daily issues, problems faced by consumers and ongoing projects.