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Karnataka Chief Minister calls for energy audit, metering of IP sets

According to reports, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has advocated “energy audit” for a comprehensive understanding of how power generated in Karnataka was distributed across sectors, and said that this might even require “persuading” farmers to allow metering of their agricultural pumpsets.

Participating in the 45th Foundation Day celebrations of the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) here on Sunday, he said that there was no clear accounting as of now on how power was distributed for agricultural, industrial and domestic consumption.

He said that the power subsidy bill of the State stood at Rs. 6,500 crore, up from Rs. 1,800 crore in 2004–05. There was no clear picture on transmission losses and thefts either, he added.

An audit on power generation and consumption was proposed in 2004-05, but never carried out, said the chief minister.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said that power generation in Karnataka was not keeping pace with the demand and there was a dire need to maximise production capacity in the existing units.

Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar said that the need to maximise capacity was even more strongly felt because opening new units was fraught with problems. He said that the report of the panel, headed by K. Kasturirangan, placed severe restrictions on where power units can be started, with focus on environmental impact. Mr. Shivakumar said that the KPCL should be run on a “business model”, with little “interference” from the government, to make this possible.

He said that various bodies owed KPCL dues of Rs. 12,000 crore, and the government was making efforts to help it tide over the crisis by making special budget allocations for subsides.

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