KSEB rules out immediate power tariff hike

Kochi: Refuting reports of a hike in power tariff, the Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (KSEB) said the rates would be revised only after considering the views of the public.

The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission has asked the board to submit its accounts and tariff petition before December 31.

The KSEB has been bearing a loss of Rs 11 while selling a unit of power, which adds up to Rs 71.5 lakh a day. The board lost Rs 12,104 crore in the financial year 2019-20. The KSEB has not been allowed to include the loss of Rs 6,862 crore incurred in financial year 2017-18 completely in the tariff. Of the Rs 3,200 crore total dues to the KSEB, Rs 1,200 crore were by various government departments.

The Kerala Water Authority alone owes Rs 817 crore to the KSEB, and dues were increasing by Rs 27 crore a month. The board also has a liability to disburse Rs 12,419 crore as pension.

The board sold excess power at 50 paise a unit to Rs 18 during October-November, when the reservoirs were full, and the domestic consumption dipped. This, however, is a temporary phenomenon.

The State has been generating 1,650 megawatts of power against the required 3,800 megawatts. About 100 to 300 megawatts are being received from long-term agreements and Central government projects. Still, the KSEB has been forced to purchase power to address the deficit during the evening peak hours.

Incidentally, Kerala has adequate power to meet the requirements during daytime, but the peak hour consumption is higher than the average utilisation, leading to power deficit. The board said judicious use of power during peak hours would help in overcoming the crisis.

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