29 May 2017 | Last updated 02:31 PM

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MSEDCL must prioritise renewable energy: Experts
Jui Dharwadkar | Saturday, 20 May 2017 AT 12:00 AM IST
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Pune: Power tariff in the State has seen a consistent hike in recent years. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) recently filed a review petition with Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), demanding a hike in power tariff for next three years.

With MSEDCL facing a challenge of having competent energy rates, experts believe that in this scenario, it has now become important for the State to prioritise consumption and generation of renewable energy.

City-based activist and President of Maharashtra Veej Grahak Sanghatana, Pratap Hogade told Sakal Times that in the recent review petition for tariff hike, MSEDCL has demanded a revenue increase of
Rs 24,251 crore for the next three years, which comes to an average hike of 12 per cent for three years.

Hogade emphasised that the present power tariff is already high as compared to the adjoining states and lack of power planning is adversely affecting industries and agriculture in the State. 

“The industrial power demand is expected to increase by 5 per cent to 6 per cent every year. But since 2009-2010, this demand has not grown and at present, it is in negative. This is mainly because industries have preferred moving outside the State where power is cheaper or have chosen open access, captive power generation, among other things,” said Hogade.

With increasing power tariff, experts have hinted that in the near future, the burden of thermal power tariff will fall only on small consumers.

Speaking about this issue, Senior Research Associate at Prayas Energy Group, a non-governmental, non-profit organisation based in Pune, Ashwini Chitnis said, “With technological advancements rates of renewable power especially solar power are falling sharply.

In this scenario, it is more likely that in the near future, bigger consumers will move away from the discom and the burden of stranded assets and other inefficiencies may fall on small consumers, who can’t make such a shift.”

Chitnis further added that even with focus on renewable energy, the need for thermal power cannot be ruled out completely and hence, there is a need for very cautious and calibrated regulatory approach towards thermal power management.

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