Mysore/Mysore: The annual public hearing exercise by Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) before the electricity rate hike was held this morning at the Deputy Commissioner’s Office courthouse. The Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) has requested an increase of Rs. 2.27 per unit in the current tariffs.

The hearing was conducted under the guidance of KERC Chairman, HM Manjunath, Member MD Ravi and Secretary Rekha. Stakeholders from Mysore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Mysore Industries Association (MIA), KIADB Industrial Area Manufacturers’ Association (KIAMA), Hebbal Industrial Estate Manufacturers Association (HIEMA), Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (KSSIA ) and representatives of consumers and farmers were present.

The hearing started with CESC Chief Executive Jayavibhavaswamy saying that for the financial year 2022-2023, there is a revenue shortfall of Rs. 1,543 crores.

To correct the losses, the CESC is to increase the tariffs up to Rs. 2.27 per unit. He described various reasons for the loss of income. The CESC has jurisdiction over the regions of Mysuru, Mandya, Chamarajanagar, Hassan and Kodagu.

Responding to the presentation made by CESC MD, MIA President and former MP Vasu raised strong objections against CESC’s call to increase the electricity tariff. He and MIA Secretary Suresh Kumar Jain said already 30% of industries, especially in the small-scale sector, have shut down due to COVID and high cost of raw materials.

“By offering an unreasonable hike of Rs. 2.27 per unit, CESC is killing industries. This is an anti-industry decision and KERC must not bow to pressure. The CESC’s revenue collection system is inefficient and there is no control over electricity theft. Consumers and industrialists are penalized for their inefficient and highly corrupt attitude, they charged.

K. Ravindra Prabhu, Vice President of KIAMA, opposed the tariff hike and said that in the next six months many other industries will shut down as there is no government support . “Furthermore, government agencies like the CESC that should actually serve people are determined to make a profit, which overwhelms unhappy consumers. In fact, this public hearing is just a waste of time because companies like CESC will get what they want and KERC can’t do much about that,” he said.

Every year, electricity distribution companies approach KERC for a tariff review. Later, KERC sends a proposal to the state government with its tariff increase recommendations.