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KSEB may withdraw ‘thermal surcharge’

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A.K. Balan calls to reduce power consumption.
A.K. Balan calls to reduce power consumption.

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has expressed its willingness to withdraw the 50-paise-per-unit ‘thermal surcharge’ on electricity, imposed earlier this year following poor monsoon.

The KSEB submitted a petition to that effect before the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission on Friday evening. The commission is expected to permit the KSEB to withdraw the surcharge with effect from March 1.

Electricity Minister A.K. Balan made a statement in the Assembly describing the financial relief the KSEB had obtained in the recent weeks following a steep fall in the cost of power generated at stations running on liquid fuel. Energy from such stations used to cost up to Rs.13 per unit earlier this year.

Due to the steep fall in international crude oil prices in the wake of the global recession, the cost of power from stations running on liquid fuel has come down to around Rs.5 per unit in recent weeks, Mr. Balan said.

The Minister said the consumers should not take this to mean that the power crisis had eased in the State. They should cooperate in a big way by reducing power consumption, he said.

Since the storage of water in hydro-electric reservoirs is very poor and since the availability of power from coal and lignite stations is restricted, the KSEB has to continue purchasing large quantities of energy from the liquid fuel stations to satisfy the demand in the State. Even the present reduced cost of energy from liquid fuel stations was much higher than the Rs.3.40 average per unit tariff in force in the State, Mr. Balan said.

The average daily power consumption in the State, which was 41 million units at the beginning of February, has gone up to 47.5 million units now, since the summer season is beginning. The reservoirs have storage to generate only 16 million units of energy daily till the next monsoon. The State is getting around 20 million units of power daily from the Central pool. The KSEB was purchasing nearly 12 million units of energy daily from liquid fuel stations and other private stations, he said.

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