The former Chairman of the leading public sector Malabar Cements Limited and one of the pioneers of industrialization of the District K. Ramakrishnan has said that another hike in the power tariff in the State would ruin commerce and industry, which are struggling to survive.
Talking to `The Hindu ’ here on Monday he said that the report of another request by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) to the State Electricity Commission for upward revision of tariff would be a `power shock’ for all the consumers above 200 units. If approved it would double the existing power tariff for commercial establishments and industrial units.
For consumption up to 200 units, the old tariff rate of Rs.1.15 per unit has been retained. However, for consumers above 200 units, the average increase has been more than 50 per cent of the existing tariff.
It is learned that commercial establishments like shops and hotels will have to pay through their nose at the rate of Rs.8 per unit.
With such a huge hike in power tariff the establishment cost will increase many fold making these institutions unviable, Mr. Ramakrishnan, Director Board member of many prestigious companies, said.
Keeping in mind the economic recession the country is facing this steep hike in power tariff will have disastrous impact on all types of consumers, he warned.
He said that if subsidy is to be given to below cost of production it should be reimbursed by Government in budgetary allocation.
In the past government used to bear the losses of public undertakings like KSEB. But the resource position of the government is very bleak and the public sector companies can only look for financial agencies like World Bank or such other funding agencies who will insist on profit making. In this context, the KSEB will have to be run professionally and on commercial basis.
``Kerala is one of the few States which can generate surplus power. At one time we were selling power to the neighbouring States. The generating cost of one unit of power from hydel project is below 10 paise. The State’s entire requirement could be met from mega hydel projects like Idukki, Sabarigiri, Pallavasal, Edamalayar etc., if full capacity is utilized and the power houses are run on professional way. But the faulty equipment, poor management and planning have decreased the power generation by 50 per cent,’’ Mr. Ramakrishnan said.
In some neighbouring States there is acute shortage of power mainly due to rapid industrialization. However in Kerala it is in the reverse with no significant increase in industries. The power shortage has become acute here mainly due to the fall in capacity utilization.
He said that instead of going for power hike efforts should be made to draw more power from Kayamkulam and projects like Brahmapuram with the updating of the technology and using cheap raw materials.