The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission on Tuesday advised the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) to examine the possibilities of bringing down its employee cost.

The commission’s chairman T.M. Manoharan gave this advice at a public hearing called here to gather the views of power consumers on a petition filed by KSEB.

The petition was to seek a review of the commission’s order earlier this year accepting only part of the employee cost projected by KSEB for the year 2013-14 as justifiable.

The expenses projected by KSEB for each financial year vis-à-vis expected revenue from charges form the basis of the tariff fixation exercise under the regulatory mechanism put in place in the power sector under the Electricity Act of 2003. KSEB’s projection was that it would have a revenue gap of Rs.2,758.67 crore during the current financial under last year’s power tariff structure, but the commission had calculated that it would be only Rs.1,049.91 crore.

The commission had, while making this calculation, disallowed nearly Rs.748 crore out of the total expenses of Rs.2,551.50 crore projected by KSEB as its expenses on salaries and pensions.

The commission had also disallowed part of the projected expenses of KSEB on power purchase, administrative expense and repair and maintenance of various power installations.

KSEB’s representative at the public hearing pleaded for a review of the commission’s decision to curtail its expenses on all these requirements. Referring to the employee cost, Mr. Manoharan said it was not justifiable on the part of KSEB to pass on to the power consumers the full employee cost, if the employee cost went beyond justifiable levels.

The association representing high tension and extra high tension power consumers in the State, among other consumer groups, contended that KSEB was overstaffed and that wage revisions were being made in the institution without considering the interests of power consumers. The commission is expected to issue its order on KSEB’s petition soon.

More In: Kerala | National