Tuesday, Aug 13, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
Much could be achieved through other options like preventing pilferage of power and effecting better demand side management, the association said in a memorandum submitted today to the Cabinet sub-committee studying the question of imposing a power tariff hike.
The memorandum suggests checking pilferage of power and effecting better demand side management as measures the KSEB could undertake in the short term.
Pilferage and theft of power are justified as transmission loss in the State. It is an accepted fact that transmission loss was on the higher side in the State. To bring down this loss, there should be a mechanism to fix responsibility at every point in the distribution channel, the memorandum says.
The power supplied from each distribution transformer should be quantified and the billing section and the power distribution cell should be computer-linked.
The assistant engineer of each electrical section should prepare a monthly statement on the quantum of power received and quantum of power billed. He should be asked to explain the reasons for any difference between the two and suggest measures to remedy the situation.
At the higher levels of the distribution link, right up to the chief of distribution too should be similarly made accountable for the each unit of electricity received for distribution. Such a system would go a long way in bringing down pilferage and theft, according to the memorandum.
Most of the `theft' cases now being reported by the KSEB's special squads are not `theft' in the real sense, but only cases involving excess connected load, according to the association.
The next weak link was the energy meters. The KSEB itself admits that a large number of consumer meters were defective.
There is no system to ensure that the meters are in good condition. The KSEB usually refers the defective meters to two authorised laboratories, which are ill-equipped to take the workload they are given. The task of repairing or replacing the meters could be entrusted to outside agencies also, the memorandum says.
Tightening up the demand side management is particularly significant in Kerala because of the big gap in power consumption during the peak hours and non-peak hours. The peak hour leap in consumption is solely on account of lighting needs.
The low voltage situation forces the consumers to go for incandescent bulbs for lighting instead of fluorescent lamps. This leads to higher energy consumption.
The association says that if, instead of incandescent bulbs, the consumers were to shift to the use of energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), a considerable quantity of power could be saved during the peak hours.
An estimated 2.65 million units of power could be saved on a daily basis if the 45 lakhs consumers in the State were to change to CFLs, according to the association.
``If at least one million households are converted to CFL, the savings per day will be six lakhs units of power. This is equivalent 200 MW of installed capacity...
The cost of setting up 200 MW generating capacity will be around Rs. 1,000 crores, but the conversion of one million households to CFL (at an average of 4 CFLs per household) will entail an expense of only around Rs. 80 crores. The entire investment on CFL can be recovered in 12 months' time at the present tariff levels,'' the association says.
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