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BESCOM puts chokehold on power supply

After a brief respite, the BESCOM has once again put a chokehold on the power supply to the city and resumed load shedding with a vengeance.

Early last week, BESCOM had warned citizens to either comply with the proposed electricity hike or learn to live in darkness.

Despite strong opposition coming in against the hike, the utility has gone ahead and resumed load shedding. With school and college students preparing for their mid-term examinations this month, the development is not going to have a pleasant outcome.

Residents and industrialists alike appear to be in a fix as their schedules have gone haywire.
 
While some are blaming the BESCOM for its poor power management, others have hit out against the utility for keeping the public in the dark and for going ahead with load shedding.

Groping in the dark
As per information from the Energy Department, the city is currently reeling under a shortage of 1000 MW of power and to make up for it, BESCOM is resorting to load shedding.

In the past week, several areas in the city have faced one-hour load shedding on a daily basis, besides frequent interruptions throughout the day.

"There is a power shortage in the city and the supply of power is less, due to which there has been hour-long power cut this whole week," said P Mannivannan, MD, BESCOM.

However, he assured that things would be back to normal once adequate supply is resumed.

Residents fume
A majority of the student community has lashed out at the supply company for making unannounced power-cuts.

"If they inform resident about the power cuts in advance, alternative plans can be made by us. In the past week we have had to deal with frequent hour-long power cuts," said D Bindusha, a collegian from Benson Town.

Citizens are all the more annoyed because on one hand the utility is seeking to increase electricity charges, while on the other it is failing to provide power efficiently.

"If they cannot supply power properly, then what right do they have to demand a power hike? They do not maintain the power lines properly, service is inefficient and so we do not think a power hike is justified," said Gopalan Ram, member, Sanjay Nagar RWA.

Industries in the state have already seen a 5.6 per cent dip in growth and are quite unhappy. In Peenya Industrial area, complaints have made over the frequent power cuts and poor quality of power.

"There has been no official announcement and BESCOM is resorting to power cuts without making official announcements.
 
This is against the rule set by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission and we will take up the matter before the commission if the situation worsens," said Prakash N Raikar, president, Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association.

Experts have further lashed out at BESCOM's apathy towards the woes of the residents. While the state is reeling under a power crisis, it is the responsibility of the supply companies to keep the public informed.

"The power shortage is due to an acute coal shortage, as the energy department is not able to buy the material even at high rates. However, they are answerable to the public and so they should at least have the courtesy to disclose the situation to the general public," said M G Prabhakar, Energy Expert.

The State Energy Department has convened an emergency meeting with the managing directors of all ESCOMs today to discuss the current situation and possibly work out a solution.

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