Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed has said the government is committed to sourcing electricity from all available sources of power generation at any cost for ensuring hassle-free power supply in the State, even as the State is facing acute crisis in the power sector as a result of steep hike in electricity consumption and the lower water level in the reservoirs.
Addressing a meet-the-press programme organised by the Press Cub in Kannur on Saturday, the Minister said that though the government was obliged to revise electricity tariff every year, the existing crisis in the power sector might lead to a possible hike in tariff, though the government would explore all avenues to avert the hike. The government was also taking measures to tide over the power shortage caused by excess consumption, he said adding that they included introduction of solar panels in 10,000 households at a subsidised pilot project, LNG-based power generation at the National Thermal Power Corporation plant at Kayamkulam and proposed LNG plant at Cheemeni.
The Minister said that the water level in the reservoirs was only 45 per cent of what it had been during this time last year. The power consumption recorded an annual 10 to 12 per cent increase as the average consumption had increased from nearly 42 up million units last year to 56 million units now. The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) required Rs. 770 crore for power purchase, while its total revenue was Rs. 700 crore, he said adding that the board was incurring a monthly loss of Rs. 200 crore. The crisis was so serious that the board would not be able to purchase power and get finance from banks, he said.
The Minister also said that thought the State was getting 300 MW of power from unalloyed quota from the central pool with the active support of Minister of State for Power K.C. Venugopal, efforts would be taken to get more from the pool.
Mr. Mohammed said that the State's daily power requirement was expected to be 6,000 MW by 2020 as against the current requirement of 3,400 MW. He also said that the load shedding would continue till next June.
The Minister, who is also holding the transport portfolio, said that the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation ( KSRTC) was incurring a monthly loss of Rs. 60 crore even after the hike in bus fare. KSRTC buses were getting old as were the hydel power plants in the State, he said adding that in both cases maintenance was a major problem.