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'Suggestions for BESCOM'

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Action seems to be picking up at BESCOM, with a new Power Minister few months ago, and a new commissioner now. Pasting below, from an email exchange, some ideas for BESCOM and Energy situation in Bangalore, from Mr. MC.


I would divide our power strategy into two parts:

1.) Demand Side Management
2.) Supply Side Management

In Demand Side Management, some of the following steps can be immediately taken:

a) Census of Irrigation Pumpsets and replacing IPs with new energy effecient ones. The TN Govt has pressed ahead with this scheme and is expected to save 6% of daily power consumption - and that is a lot!

Replacing IPs can also be financed via carbon credits - therefore for a less cost, we get great benefits in terms of power savings.

b.) Popularising LEDs, CFLs via carbon credits - BESCOM can launch a seperate scheme for selling LEDs - and can get carbon credits to cut the costs of the same. It is quite similar to the new Bachat Lamp Yojana, which is registered as the world's largest carbon credit scheme.

Ideally, if the millions of our shops can switch to LEDs from tube lights, we would dramatically reduce the power consumption per day. LEDs are very energy effecient.

c.) Mandatory Installation of Solar Water Heaters and replacing Domestic Water Pumps

d.) Interacting with BBMP to replace all the sodium halide lamps to LEDs


1.) We have to maximise intake of power available from power exchanges from June - February because the power prices during these months falls due to various factors like monsoons, general lull in power consumption etc etc.

The idea is that our hydel capacity in Karnataka can be stored for some more time, so that we can tide over harsh summers using the hydel capacity we saved due to useing power from exchanges.

KERC had suggested this to ESCOMs sometime back - it is the same suggestion that i am backing now.

2.) War or T&D Losses - T&D (Transmission and Distribution) Losses *have* to be minimised. T&D is sometimes referred to as "Theft & Dacoity" losses as well! I am sure you know how important it is to eliminate the latter.

3.) Modernising billing system and payment collection.

4.) Credit Rating the ESCOMs

5.) Inviting Private Participation in Distribution Franchises (Tata Power and Reliance are a success in Mumbai - that model can be replicated in Bengaluru as well).

I can go on w.r.t suggestions, but what is needed is a direction & will from BESCOM.


silkboard's picture

CFL replacement subsidy - simple numbers

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Includes some estimates.

  • Bangalore Population: 70 lakhs. =~ 15 lakh households. reduce to 10 lakh houses
  • 4 60 watt bulbs per house, burning for 1500 hours/year = 360 KWH/year
  • So, 10 lakh x 360 KWH/year = 3600 lakh KWH / year

CFL would cut this down to at least a fourth.

  • So energy saved or conserved = 2700 lakh KWH.

Now, some carbon numbers

As per EPA, 1.37 lbs of CO2 are created for every kWh burned
1 lbs = .000454 Metric Ton.
Assume market price for carbon at US $ 10 / MT of CO2.

So, 2400 lakh KWH would

  • Save 1.37 x 0.000454 x 2400 lakh = 1.68 lakh MT of CO2
  • That would get BESCOM 1.68 lakh x $10 = $ 16.8 lakh, or ~ $ 1.7 million.

That's Rs 8 crores for BESCOM if it can get all of Bangalore to switch to CFL, only by way of carbon credits. Will leave valuation of other savings and benefits to others. Can't these savings fund a solid subsidized CFL replacement program at Bangalore?

kbsyed61's picture

Solar Lamps/Lights in all government offices buildings

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1. Plan/policy to replace the existing florascent/sodium vapor lamps with solar lightings in exteriors areas of all the govt office buildings

2. Plan/Policy to replace the florascent/sodium vapor street lamps with solar lightings.

This would be a win-win situation, i.e power savings, employment generation, new industrial and economic activity.



Mani1972's picture

BESCOM welcomes participation

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Dear SB,

Thanks for the introduction and support. We, at BESCOM intend to work more closely with our customers, the citizens of Bangalore and 6 other districts. You are the reason and motivatin for our existence and progress.

We are initiated the co-operation process with the first meeting on 20th November, at 3.30pm, at our corporate office meeting hall. We have invited all those who took time to talk abut BESCOM before the public hearing before KERC. As praja has been recognised as a NGO working for social cause, we invite 3 representatives from Praja to participate in the meeting.

We all have ideas. We will also talk about implementation in a restricted government environment. When we both join hands, nothing is impossible.

Warm regards,



kbsyed61's picture

Specific areas where Praja can help!

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Manivannan sir,

Thanks for initiating the much needed public consultation reforms in BESCOM. I wish you all the best in your endeavors.

For the meeting, I am sure Praja members who are on ground would certainly avail the opportunity to attend the meeting tomorrow.

Since BESCOM is a huge organization and has many layers of operations, I am trying to understand where Praja members can pool their collective wisdom and help BESCOM.

Any specfic areas of BESCOM operations that Praja can help with?


murali772's picture

challenges before BESCOM

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@ SB - who's Mr MC, whom you have quoted supposedly saying

Inviting Private Participation in Distribution Franchises (Tata Power and Reliance are a success in Mumbai - that model can be replicated in Bengaluru as well)

I have always maintained that's the way to go - check this.

Here, I have also tried to list the challenges before BESCOM.

Let's see how the PC experiment moves ahead. Whatever, with somebody like Mr Manivannan providing the thrust, it won't be lacking in sincerity.

Muralidhar Rao

MC is me!

201 users have liked.

 Hi Murali,

MC is me! I had written this in an email to Shri P Manivannan.

I guess running a business takes so much time! But i'll look forward to seeing you tomorrow (tuesday).

If the goal of BESCOM is to transform itself into a corporate organisation, it should first do what corporates do best - outsourcing! :-)

In a limited way, distribution franchisees can do the job of revenue collection, keeping a tab on T&D losses {including theft and dacoity}!

Becoming lean and mean is the corporate mantra, so BESCOM should not be left behind.

And distribution franchising does not bring in with it the additional political baggage of "privatisation", so while the benefits of a "privatised" distribution is there, BESCOM {and hence the Govt} can keep a tab.

CFLs should be a stop gap arrangement

183 users have liked.

CFLs are a good step for BESCOM.

It can easily be part of an existing program - the "Bachat Lamp Yojana" floated by the Union Govt and it is the world's largest Carbon credit program.

Better than CFLs are LEDs.

In my opinion, BESCOM can sign up for the existing CFL program, but also launch a separate LED program.

This will enable quick adoption of LED technology in Bengaluru.


Mani1972's picture

BESCOM: Suggestion & Request

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Dear Friends,

We, at BESCOM, would like to thank the partcipants of the first meeting towards forming a 'user forum/council' for supporting BESCOM in its effective functioning. This will be a participatory mechanism.

As we discussed in the meeting, we have 1 month time to make the draft for the formation & functioning of the forum. The frame work needs to be finalised before we jump into advising BESCOM, however entycing it may be!

I can see the 'members-in-waiting' impatient to make suggestions. Its easy to suggest. But difficult to implement. Our task is not easy. But, not impossible also. The enthusiasm shown by the members gives me confidence that this will work, and will be a win-win for both the customers and BESCOM.

After the formation of the forum, the members, however knowledgeble and enlightened, need to patiently study the organisation (BESCOM), to make suggestions that will work. Let us not forget that the Engineers in BESCOM have more than 2 decades of experiance, and are generally as good as any other professional.

So, my requst is, after the formation of the forum, lets spend time on understanding BESCOM. As they say, to teach Geography to John, you should know both: Geography and John. Lets understand both.






sanjayv's picture

Peak and off-peak rates in Billing

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For better demand side management, BESCOM has to implement structured rates for better demand side management, especially  for larger customers.  There will be an incentive for for these customers to shift their load around (as examples, some data centers can shift their load around to run at off peak hours, or there will be an incentive to uses strategies such as ice storage for shifting building cooling loads).

sanjayv's picture

Good suggestion Mani sir

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 I wrote my post before your post became visible.  Your suggestion is an excellent one, although, to be perfectly blunt, I keep worrying about how long they will keep you at BESCOM before a reshuffle.  So there is a sense of urgency also.

I think folks at PRAJA can get started on the understand BESCOM portion even before the forum is formed and is functioning.  PRAJA can also be a good place (repository) of gained knowledge.  Are there some information sources you can point to that will get us started?

As you know, public interactions result in a flood of suggestions, many not all be necessarily practical or easy to implement.  More often than not, at a higher level of abstraction, you can extract a general principle out of many of the suggestions - such as perhaps, use more green sources of electricity and we will pay more!  As the experts, it is your job to guide the discussion to take maximum value from it and it appears that you are doing exactly that! So thank you for that too!



idontspam's picture


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Also an IT roadmap report for BESCOM in 2008 identified minimal adoption of SCADA within the organization. Hopefully things have moved on since then and the adoption has become more pervasive to give baseline data more frequently.

It would be interesting to know the status of R-APDRP implementation at BESCOM. If Base line T&D data is available on a sustainable basis we can help make it available to the public as open data including visualizations. If geo tagged we can present information at ward level on theft and leakage. Let people know how much their wards are swindlng from BESCOM.


raghu-s's picture

Demand Side Management

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I would like to bring to your notice that MERC has initiated a study towards impact of Automated Demand Response on Mumbai System. In Mumbai, It has been noted that if 10% of the peak demand were to be reduced, it will bring down the tariff by Rs.0.2/unit. I believe similar initiative needs to be taken up in Bangalore which houses large commercial and office complexes.

Today most of us as consumers are not aware as when utility face crunch situations like peak hours (demand more than supply), constraints (sudden loss of generation), emergencies (grid frequency falling out of permissible limits 49.5~50.2Hz, UI etc). Utilities have this data but it needs to be communicated to consumers. Had the information of crunch situations been available to consumers and consumers contribute their little in switching off unwanted loads for 30~60mins max...we can avoid load shedding or brown outs. In the event of load shedding to manage the cruch situations it is just a no-win situation either to utility or customers. FKCCI states that power cuts leads to thousands of crores of rupees of losses to industries and running on diesel genset is not a viable option both econmically and environmentally.

To use a true but often over-quoted phrase it is all about turning data into information, and information into knowledge. But even that is not enough. For grid application to be effective we need to turn that knowledge into action. Action is where the value is.

Automated Demand Response is automation of Load Curtailment Process. I did an quick study in Bangalore with about 40 buildings and see that they consume about 120MW together. If peak hour information was available to these buildings, they can automatically reduce their consumption by about 20MW, all by simply manipulating the HVAC systems without compromising the comfort. I believe across Bangalore definitely during peak ADR can produce a reduction of 100+ MW.

Benefits are manifold.

For Utilities: a) it can avoid purchase of peak power to the consumption reduction leading to reduction in cost of operations leading to reduction in tariffs or atleast maintaining the statu-quo. b) Manage the UI drawals much better which again is a drain on the utlity cash pool c) delivery power 24x7 d) reduce T&D losses etc.

For Consumers: a) 24x7 power supply b) reduced tariffs c) opportunity to be part of save earth campaign.

In Western countries Automated Demand Response provides opportunities for consumers to earn money out of energy savings....utilities pay money to consumers for having reduced their consumption during cruch hours. I believe similar mechanism too can be evolved in India as Utility's avoided costs are much than those spent.

I would urge BESCOM to initiate a study and run a pilot of Automated Demand Response and I believe it were to adopt ADR, there will be tremendous impact.




murali772's picture

Relevant thoughts

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The following comments pertaining to the Participatory Council (PC), mailed out by Mr Subbarao Prabhala (former CEO of BEL, who was originally invited to be on the council, but opted out), I thought were fairly relevant:

Bridge the gap between consumers and BESCom - Gap is because consumers are not aware of their rights and BESCom’s rights as well as limitations. As a result expectations are high, leading to disappointment and frustration.

Opaque procedures requiring to engage middlemen (LEC) to avoid hassles, which, in turn, encourages corruption - a Manual or Handbook answering all FAQs.

All that PC can do is to suggest it to BESCom, and if they agree, set a target date and monitor at Qly intervals.

Review of BESCom’s policies - I do not know what PC can do when, most likely, the major policies are dictated by KERC or the Govt. All that PC can suggest is simplified and consumer-friendly procedures and policies. Again, get agreement, set target dates and monitor. Also suggest benchmarking against best of the breed and if policies need change, BESCom to take up with KERC and Govt.

Governance in BESCom - Related to earlier point. Improvement of productivity, quality, attitude and culture to achieve best practices and Business Excellence. Shed govt dept culture and adopt corporate culture. AirTel revenue in 2010 Rs 41,829cr, 130 million subscribers, 18,354 employees. Not exact parallel. Cost reduction as central motto. Outsourcing non-essential functions. PC can only suggest this and if agreed, how to go about it.
Safety - Not much PC can do. Solution is to strictly enforce Electrical Inspector’s rules. Penalise staff for non-use. Safety of citizens: education at household level, better workmanship at street level, eg dangling wires.

Other topics

1) What is the correct relationship with KERC? Is approval for reforms needed? Does KERC have veto powers on reforms?
2) Voting among PC members not appropriate. Consensus if possible. In any case BESCom has to decide finally.
3) PC meetings quarterly.
4) Exclusion of suppliers and vendors absolutely right. Exclusion of non-profit NGO reps from PC not wise even if the NGO is involved with BESCom in some reform measures. Can provide valuable feedback from consumers and field staff of BESCom.
5) Number of PC members : Preferably 10 - 3 from BESCom, one of them to be ‘Secretary’ to notify mtgs, send agenda papers, record minutes, etc, 2 with industry/corporate background, 2 with consumer affairs background, 1 from CPRI, 1academic, 1 admin. background. Chairman to be from BESCom. PC should be empowered to ask consultants of BESCom to attend if reqd.
6) Consultants and trainers will be needed to prepare for change and chart out the change. Internal champions required. PC can suggest consultants if they know. Monitor activities thereafter.

To summarise, Participatory Council’s role can be to suggest how to improve Consumer Satisfaction and Profitability of BESCom and monitor the progress.

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