Margao: The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission conducted a public hearing on Wednesday at Ravindra Bhavan to seek the public opinion of the Business Plan prepared by Goa Electricity Department (GED) for the control period of 2019-20 to 2021-22. The meeting was chaired by the Chairperson of JERC MK Goel and Ms Neerja Mathur, member JERC Board. More than 30 senior staff of GED attended the meeting.
After a brief presentation by the Chief Engineer of GED, N Reddy, around 13 citizens spoke at the hearing and raised several issues such as the present dilapidated condition of the local electricity department offices, the non-availability of equipment, malfunctioning transformers and the frequent power cuts in their area.
One Govind Pingle raised the issue of solar power development in the State. “GED wants to purchase the solar power for National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) but why can’t we develop 5-10 MW in the State”, he questioned. Reddy responded by saying that “solar power policy will be finalised shortly.
Anish Souza, who runs a solar company outside Goa, also raised concerns regarding the GED’s proposal to import solar power. “There is a lot of interest to set up an open access power plant in the state. So far whichever proposal is presented is told to be kept on hold”, Reddy informed.
Ms Lorna Fernandes of the Cuncolim Civic and Consumer Forum pointed out several misinformations in the business plan including the tourism statistics and the missing Dharbandora taluka from the map of Goa in the business plan. She informed that the stores of the department are empty and the department lacks conductors and AV lines and that the interruptions in South Goa are because of the non-availability of Insulators. “Please check your stores what is there in it. The department is buying substandard stuff”, she said.
Other speakers raised the issues of the lack of vehicles at the local departments and the lack of maintenance at the local electricity department offices, malfunctioning street lights and even malfunctioning of underground cables in Margao. Activist Shriram Raiturkar pointed out that for the last many months the department is unable to provide 3-phase commercial meters.
Dr Aashish Kamat informed JERC that the GED is issuing power availability certificates to mega projects without verifying whether they can provide the required interrupted load without compromising the supply to existing homes. He also emphasised the need for a smart grid to check on pilferages.
Gerad D’Mello, representative of Goa Chambers of Commerce and Industry, emphasised the need to improving electricity supply to industries. “This is affecting industrialisation. There is a lot of product failure and losses due to power outage”, he informed
Other who spoke at the hearing included Martin Rodrigues of the Raia Civic and Consumer Forum, Prakash Lotlekar resident of Porvorim, Dominic Noronha ex-Sarpanch of Sirlim-Dramapur, Siddharth Karapukar on behalf of Aam Aadmi Party. [H]