Poor monsoon prompts KSEB to seek nod for another plea before KSERC

Finding itself in a very deep liquidity crisis, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) is pressing the State government for permission to submit yet another plea before the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSERC) for tariff revision/power supply curbs.

A top official told The Hindu that the indifferent performance of the southwest monsoon had upset the calculations of the board. The constantly increasing demand for electricity was further complicating the management of the sector.

At the start of the year, the KSEB’s assessment was that it would run up a revenue deficit of Rs.1,889.15 crore during the current water year (June 2012 to May 2013) at the tariffs prevailing then.

Previous hike

The regulatory commission, in its tariff order in July, permitted the KSEB to recover a sum of Rs.1,676.84 crore by way of increases in tariff for various sections of consumers. The average revenue realisation from one unit of electricity supplied by the KSEB went up from around Rs.3.49 to Rs.4.45 consequent to the tariff revision.

However, with the monsoon now drawing to a close, it has become clear that the share of cheap hydro power in the total energy available to the KSEB for distribution will be less than that estimated earlier.

Both Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts that account for a major portion of the hydroelectric reservoir capacity of the KSEB received very poor rainfall this season. Idukki district is deficient in rainfall by 17 per cent and Pathanamthitta by 35 per cent.

As the year progresses, the KSEB will have to make up the shortage in the availability of cheap hydro power by purchasing energy from the open market and other high-cost power stations running on liquid fuel.

The supply of reasonably priced energy from the Central power-generating stations running on coal and lignite being governed by a fixed allocation, any shortage in the availability of hydro power can be compensated only by purchasing energy from expensive sources.

The official said the recent tariff hike had not resulted in any noticeable reduction in energy demand. Daily demand of energy, which was in the region of 58 million units last summer, is set to reign well above 60 million units this summer.

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