Responding to criticism that the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) has been opting for highcost solutions like Enron's Dabhol power project and ignoring energy conservation and efficiency in use, the board has unveiled a package, which, among other things, would introduce time-of-day metering for 'power supply, first of its kind in the country.
The MSEB had acceded to Enron's demand for guaranteed power offtake at a load factor of 86 per cent, which may require it to shut down its own power plants. However, according to MSEB chairperson Ajit Nimbalker, the demand management package, which involves charging differential rates for peak and off-peak power supply, would effectively flatten the load, ensuring that the MSEB's own generating stations do not lie idle during off-peak periods. MSEB's peak hours are from 6 to 9 pm, partial load from 7 am to 6 pm and off-peak load from 11pm t&7 am. Presently, some units remain idle during off-peak hours.
The MSEB tariffs would be revised from the present flat rate of Rs 2 per unit charged to its industrial consumers to Rs 3 per unit during peak period, Rs 2 during partial load and Rs 1.50 during the off-peak period. It is expected that industries that have 2 to 3 shifts a day will benefit most, as they can cut costs by increasing their use of power during off-peak hours and reduce power use during peak hours when the rates are high. MSEB also hopes to phase out the practice of industrial users subsidising domestic and agricultural sectors by gradually raising tariffs in these sectors.
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