Minister for Electricity Aryadan Mohammed told a press conference in Kochi on Saturday that the government, as of now, is not contemplating any tariff hike. Even if the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission has permitted the Kerala State Electricity Board to impose a fuel surcharge, the matter would be taken to the State Cabinet for a decision.
The Minister slammed reports in a section of the press that pointed to an imminent tariff hike. There will be no decision now that will impose a bigger burden on the ordinary people. He said the government had not even thought of a tariff hike right now.
There was a revenue gap of around Rs. 900 crore for KSEB. The government was still thinking about ways to bridge this gap. Hiking electricity charge will not be the first step to bridge the gap, he added.
The Minister said that the government would consider all aspects of a tariff hike. He also ruled out any cut in the wages and benefits of the Electricity Board employees. The Minister said that the employees had to be given fair wages and allowances and cutting their wages would not be a solution to meeting the revenue gap.
One of the ways the Electricity Board thought of bridging the gap was to cut transmission and distribution (T and D) loss, the Minister said. The T and D losses in 2001 was around 32 per cent. It was brought down to 23 per cent by 2006. Right now the T and D loss was between 18 and 19 per cent.
Implementation of the Accelerate Power Development and Reform Programme (APDRP), backed by the Union Government, in various urban centres, including Thiruvnananthapuram and Kochi, was responsible for the reduction in T and D losses, the Minister said.
He said that the programme was still under implementation and that its completion would be a major step towards curtailing the losses suffered during transmission and distribution. He also said that stringent action would be taken against power theft.