Decoding your BESCOM bill: An explainer on its key components

This explains your key power bill components such as tariff structure, sanction loads, and KW and ampere ratings for major equipment.

This year, Bengaluru recorded its second hottest summer day in 50 years, with temperatures touching 40°C in some parts. As a result, the demand for air conditioners (ACs) has skyrocketed. People have purchased multiple ACs without actually checking their sanctioned loads, this has put additional load on Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) power.

According to news reports, close to 11 lakh consumers have been penalised by BESCOM for exceeding the sanctioned voltage.

Here is a two-part explainer series about how the BESCOM bill is structured and how to calculate the sanction load.

Components of an electricity bill

  • Meter: Our electricity meter known as Energy Meter is identified by a specific nomenclature called the “RR No.” (Revenue Registration Number)’ found at the top/first line of the bill (like a vehicle registration number). It is an alpha-numeric code assigned to consumer installation.
  • Tariff category: This is the category of “rate for connected load and consumption”, which determines charges applied to your meter.
  • Sanctioned load (in yellow): This is the maximum power/load you can draw, hence it is called sanctioned load
  • Recorded MD: Maximum demand or MD is the actual power drawn by a consumer
  • Power factor (PF): This is a measure of how effectively incoming power is used in your electrical system (energy efficiency)

Read more: How renewable energy production can affect what you pay for power in Bengaluru

Tariff structure

  • Fixed charges: This is the charge on the sanctioned load (3 KW, 5 KW as per the bill). This has to be paid every month, whether you consume any electricity or not, and they are based on your sanctioned load or capacity. The charges are usually in Rs/KW.
  • Energy charges: This is the per unit rate (consumed as per meter reading)
  • Tax: 9% (GST)
  • FPPCA charges: Fuel and Power Purchase Cost Adjustment (variable-month on month)

Apart from these, there may be arrears or adjustments from previous months. If your consumption increases, you may be asked to pay an additional security deposit (ASD).

electricity bill
BESCOM Bill. Pic: Sandhya Bhat

Additional charges

  • PF Penalty
  • MD Penalty

Sanction load

Sanction load refers to the maximum amount of electricity a consumer is authorised to draw from the grid. BESCOM determines the sanction load based on factors such as the size of the premises and anticipated energy consumption.

Generally, builders apply for 3 KW / 5 KW sanction load for a 2 and 3 BHK flat. However, newer high-rises, especially the premium condominiums, have sanction loads of up to 10 KW.

When we say 3 KW – we can draw a max of 13.05 Amps at any given time (1 KW is 4.35 Amps at 230 volts supply).

AC single phase

  • Given power (kW) = 3 kW
  • Voltage (V) = 230 volts (rms)
  • Current (I)= 13.05 Amps

Read more: Explained: Did the Karnataka government really increase electricity rates by Rs 2.89 per unit?

KW and Ampere ratings for major equipments

Item BTU/KW rating Amper draws  at full load
1 Ton AC 12,000 BTU 5.0 Amps
1.5 Ton AC 18,000 BTU 7.5 Amps
15 to 35 Litre geyser 2 KW 8.2 Amps
6.5 Kg Top Loading W/m350 – 650 watts2.5-3.5 AMps
6.5 Kg Front loading W/M650 – 800 watts3 – 3.5 Amps
20 Litre Microwave 0.8 KW (800 watts) 3.25 Amps
365 Litre fridge (3*) 0.215 Kw (215 watts) 0.93 Amps

What can you run on a 3 KW sanction load?

  • Air conditioner: Typically, a 1.5 ton AC unit consumes around 1.5 kW to 2 kW of power.
  • Geyser: A 2000W geyser consumes 2 kW of power.
  • Fridge: A typical fridge consumes around 100-400 watts of power, assuming your fridge consumes 200 watts or 0.2 kW.
  • LED panel lights: LED panel lights typically consume around 10-50 watts each, depending on their brightness.
  • Fans: Ceiling fans generally consume around 50-80 watts each.

At any given point, you can simultaneously run one AC of 1.5 ton, one fridge and 2-3 lights.

If you run an AC of 1.5 ton and a geyser of 20 litres, you will cross the allowable amperage (15.7 amps against 13.5 amps), leading to penalty.

In 2022, BESCOM began replacing mechanical electricity meters with digital/electronic meter, which can record MD, this has led to consumers blaming the new meters for higher bills.

Penalty for overshooting MD is 1.5 times the per unit rate.

(Part 2 will delve into electrical system maintenance)

Also read:


  1. Rajan says:

    By installing solar ongrid system we can generate 5 units per kw . So according to tariff we can considerably reduce our billing through nett metering system
    Pl call me Rajan 9840411011 , 9843165200 , 8838165671

  2. Deepak Adyanthaya says:

    Very nicely explained sir. We are that much wiser now.

  3. Shamsunder says:

    very succinctly explained..easy to understand and relate to bill..looking forward to more such items perplexing citizens…


    Well explained.

  5. Joanitha says:

    What if owner has taken only 1 kw for a two BHK house. Tenants are penalized with heavy bills. Will government take action?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Taking flight: Does Chennai need a second airport and at what cost?

Civic and environmental activists question the feasibility of the greenfield airport in Parandur and suggest expansion of Chennai airport.

Ten lakes, two streams, 3,500 acres of agricultural land, 1,005 families and hundreds of plant and animal species β€” these are all under threat because of one development project. There has been a considerable buzz regarding the Chennai Greenfield Airport set to come up in Parandur on the outskirts of the city. But, not all the noise is positive. Villagers in Parandur have been protesting for almost 700 days and some have even boycotted the Lok Sabha 2024 elections, asking the government to withdraw the project.   Yet, work is steadily progressing on the greenfield airport and the government is…

Similar Story

Explainer: Electrical components and ways to increase BESCOM sanctioned load

Here is an explainer on electrical system components and its maintenance, how to calculate sanction load and the process to increase it.

(Part 1 covered the components of BESCOM bill, tariff structure and sanction loads. Part 2 delves into electrical system maintenance) With the adoption of electric vehicles, owners are tapping into their existing meters to charge their vehicles, leading to electrical mishaps. If you need to connect a 3.3 kw/7.2kw EV charger, your sanctioned load needs to be enhanced. This leads to cable/wire, MCB (miniature circuit breaker) and RCCB (residual current circuit breaker) replacement, possibly the energy meter too may need to be replaced.  Overall, if every household enhances sanction load, this leads to constant tripping of the transformer and short…