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Power situation: Warning bells ring for K'taka

By Staff
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Bangalore, May 5 (UNI) Karnataka, a pioneer in generating Hydro Electric power in the country, is facing the threat of 100 per cent power cut unless it initiates urgent corrective measures to set right the situation, Mr M Shankar Sharma, Consultant, Electricity Industry, Mysore, cautioned today.

Speaking at a seminar on ''Energy Sector Scenario in Karnataka,'' organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry here, he said the ever-increasing population base, low level of per capita electricity consumption, inefficiency in the industry and fast depleting fossil fuels posed a grave threat to the energy security of the state.

He said Karnataka, which was heavily dependent on conventional sources for generation of power and had no known source of fossil fuel reserves, faced increasing gap between demand and supply of power. Except for a short duration in the early 1970s, it had been facing continuous shortage of electricity with industries facing 100 per cent power cuts in 1980s, he recalled.

Referring to the constraints in ensuring the security of electricity supply, Mr Sharma said that unless the electricity supply companies come out from red and the average cost of power was recovered, the power scenario in the state would continue to be a matter of concern.

He said in Karnataka, the aggregate Technical and Commercial losses appeared to be as high as about 40 per cent. The state was likely to face power crisis in future also as the financial institutions were reluctant to fund power projects due to inadequate and uncertain returns on investments, he pointed out.

Mr Sharma said that the average cost recovery rate in Karnataka was Rs 2.03 per unit of energy supplied against the average supply cost rate of Rs 3.11 per unit and the problem was further compounded with the energy supplied to every load not being measured accurately.

In such a situation, a turnaround in the industry was not possible. The state had failed to ensure adequate electricity to all by conventional means during the past 58 years and with this status there was a grave need to consider suitable alternative means, he added.

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