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TNERC norms for power supply idealistic, say employees

Our Bureau

Chennai , Feb. 11

THE Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission should not only come out with standards for quality of electricity supply but also spell out how the electricity board should go about providing the service, according to the Central Organisation of Tamil Nadu Electricity Employees (COTEE).

While the draft electricity supply code that sets standards for quality of service provided by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) is welcome, the board does not have the `men and material' to meet such standards, according to COTEE.

The commission has come out with a draft code laying down the quality of electricity supply including the time for providing the service. It stipulates the maximum time allowed for providing new connections, setting right faults and provides for penalties that TNEB would face if it falls short of these conditions.

Addressing a press conference here today, COTEE's President, Mr A.K. Padmanabhan, said that the draft regulations were idealistic and could not be met by the TNEB in the prevailing conditions. While the COTEE does not oppose the standards, it wants the regulatory commission to ensure that TNEB has the infrastructure and manpower to deliver.

But the regulators feel assessing TNEB's capability is not part of their job, which is only to lay down standards. They have turned a blind eye to the shortage of manpower and equipment. This was because legislations such as the Electricity Act 2003 and Government policies were tilted in favour of privatisation, he said.

According to Mr Padmanbhan, tools, including safety equipment, and materials of day-to-day requirement such as fuse wires and connectors were in short supply. Safety has suffered and the number of accidents has gone up.

COTEE's general secretary, Mr S. Pancharatnam, said that there are over 1.68 crore electricity connections in Tamil Nadu and every year 8 lakh new connections were being added. But the board has frozen recruitments since 1997. The workers' numbers have come down to 90,000 from 1.10 lakh in this period while number of connections had increased.

The board was outsourcing work such as staff for meter reading at the consumer level. Field staff and maintenance workers were being taken on contract. Since the wage levels were low the quality of service was also low.

More Stories on : Power | Tamil Nadu

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