There is little chance that the tariff charged by power major Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) to its consumers would come down, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group Chairman Sanjiv Goenka said in Kolkata on Thursday.
“Expenses are going up as coal cost and freight costs have gone up. To be precise, our profit is capped. But still, I will like to say that we (CESC) have the cheapest tariff in the country… Ours is the best in terms of service and in terms of efficiency,” Goenka told mediapersons.
There has been a 9.2 per cent hike in average tariff for CESC in 2014-15 from the average tariff (actually charged) for 2013-14, a CESC source said, reported PTI.
To keep a check on tampering of electric meters, CESC has also started installing automated meter reading (AMR) or smart meters on a trial basis with around 20,000 customers, Goenka said.
“We had started AMR a couple of months ago with 20,000 customers in both commercial and domestic sectors. These are special computer-aided metres, which do not need physical reading… The reading is electronically transmitted to the headquarters. It is a pilot project and depending on its success, by end of this financial year, around five lakh such meters will be installed for commercial and residential connections,” said Goenka.
While consumers are currently not being charged for the special AMR meters, decision on whether they would be charged in future would be taken later on.
Goenka, however, ruled out the possibility of there being no physical verification of electronic meters, given the rampant pilferage under CESC jurisdiction. “As long as there is pilferage, there needs to be physical reading.
Sometimes, we have to operate on trust, but it is not always reciprocated. Officials at our Loss Control Cell (LCC), along with police, conduct joint raids at regular intervals. By and large, compliance is increasing,” the industrialist added.
Along with actor-turned-MP Dev at his side, Goenka announced that from this month, CESC consumers have the right to choose whether they want their bills in Bengali and Hindi languages as well besides English.
Describing this as a puja gift, he said the company had come a long way since the first bill — a hand-written one in English — was issued 116 years ago. “At that time, very few could afford electricity. Now, everyone can. Thus, this initiative,” he said, adding that several other e-services will also be started this festive season.
For easy bill payment, CESC has begun putting up payment kiosks in line with ATMs. “Already, 11 kiosks have been installed and another 25 will be installed in the next three months,” Goenka said. Moreover, customers would be able to register themselves online by sending an SMS to a prefixed number or send a message on CESC’s WhatsApp number.
This year, the CESC has received 3,871 applications for temporary power connections from puja committees — the highest so far. Last year, the number was 3,500. The expected peak demand this year is 1,900 MW, only 50 MW more than last year, mainly because of the use of LED bulbs this time.