JSERC chairman Mukhtiyar Singh (centre) at the public hearing in Ranchi on Sunday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, May 27: Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory Commission (JSERC) today faced a reality check during a public hearing when a Tatsilwai-based manufacturer declared that he was on the verge of shutting his unit, thanks to monthly penalties slapped for failing to utilise power.
Mayank Maheshwari, whose industrial unit SSH Agrotech (P) Ltd manufactures thermo-mechanically treated bars, told JSERC chairman Mukhtiyar Singh: “I cannot sustain any more losses. I am forced to pay Rs 1.50 lakh per month as penalty for failing to utilise power according to an agreement with JSEB (Jharkhand State Power Board).”
The regulatory panel conducted the hearing today on a petition filed by JSEB requesting an immediate hike in power tariff by 65 per cent for domestic consumers and around 20 for industrial consumers.
Maheshwari pointed out, “At the same time, the voltage is so low that I cannot use the available power to run my machines. I have requested JSEB numerous times to solve my problem but without any result. It is better for me to down the shutters of my industrial unit for good.”
He added, “Irrespective of the power rates, I should get quality supply.”
Maheshwari’s outburst prompted the JSERC chief to intervene.
“All steps should be taken to ensure that not a single industrial unit is forced to close down. Industries are our lifeline, as they provide direct and indirect employment to many,” Singh stressed.
JSEB chairman S.N. Verma, who was also present, assured Maheshwari that his problem of low voltage would be resolved within 15 days.
Various other participants, from industrialists to representatives of trade and commerce, pleaded that it saving industries was important for JSEB to stay alive.
“Rectify yourself first,” Arun Khemka, president of Jharkhand Small Scale Industries Association, told JSEB.
“Every year, JSEB has been adding to its existing penalty provisions. But for low voltage, instances of tripping every day and long hours of power cuts, the power utility fails to fix responsibility on itself,” he added.
In its petition, JSEB has proposed to hike domestic supply rates from Rs 2.40 to Rs 3.95 per unit and from Rs 4.10 to Rs.4.90 a unit for industries.
The board has proposed to levy Rs 10 per unit consumed by advertisement neon signs for the first time.