Special Correspondent

Total dues come to Rs.1,964.62 crore

Forum seeks withdrawal of thermal surcharge

‘It amounts to fleecing of consumers.’

KANNUR: The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) was urged to recover immediately the outstanding electricity charge arrears to the tune of Rs.1,964.62 crore.

The People’s Council for Civil Rights (PCCR), a Thalassery-based organisation involved in legal awareness activities, said here on Monday that the KSEB had shown punishable dereliction of duty in failing to recover huge arrears from various government institutions and private consumers. Instead of recovering the arrears, the KSEB was exploiting consumers by imposing a tariff hike on them, it said. The forum also asked the KSEB to withdraw the thermal surcharge it had imposed to mobilise revenue for the thermal energy required to meet the fall in the hydroelectric power generation due to failure of monsoon.

Who owes how much

PCCR president T. Asaf Ali said that information provided by the KSEB in response to a request under the Right to Information Act had revealed that the outstanding arrears as on June 30 in respect of non-domestic consumers totalled Rs.1,964.62 crore. Total arrears to be recovered from State government departments, State public sector undertaking and co-operative sector and local bodies included Rs.612.75 crore under low tension category and Rs.617.42 crore under high tension category. The arrears to be collected from Central government departments and Central public sector undertakings are Rs.55.9 lakh and Rs.64.66 crore respectively, while those from the private sectors are Rs.93.65 crore and Rs.575.50 crore respectively.

Mr. Asaf Ali said that the total additional revenue expected from the thermal surcharge was Rs.16.10 crore from domestic consumers and Rs.24.25 crore from non-domestic consumers. He said that introduction of the thermal surcharge amounted to ‘fleecing’ ordinary consumers while huge outstanding arrears remained to be recovered. The PCCR also demanded that the arrears to be recovered from government institutions and local bodies be recovered by the government from their plan funds.