Kerala

Draft regulations do not oppose State government policies, says Electricity Minister

K. Krishnankutty said that his department has not noticed any provision which assures a higher share of profit to the private sector. File.   | Photo Credit: S. GOPAKUMAR

The draft regulations for determining power tariffs published by the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSERC) neither contradicts State government policies nor does it support privatisation of the power sector, Electricity Minister K. Krishnankutty informed the Assembly on Tuesday.

The Minister's remarks on the draft KSERC (Terms and Conditions for Determination of Tariff) Regulations, 2021, refute the stand taken by the State-run Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), which had formally objected to several of the draft proposals, and the power sector unions which allege that draft encourages privatisation policies.

In written replies to the Assembly, Mr. Krishnankutty said the draft does not contain any provision that adversely impact the KSEB or threatens its existence.

Mr. Krishnankutty supported the draft proposal to introduce non-uniform retail supply tariffs for consumer categories under different distribution licencees. He said it would attract industrial investments to the State. The provision is aimed at the development of industrial parks and increasing job opportunities and the State's tax revenues, he said.

The KSEB, during a public hearing organised by the Commission last month, had opposed this proposal saying Non-uniform retail tariffs will harm the cross-subsidy mechanism and, ultimately, trigger power tariff hikes.

Further, Mr. Krishnankutty said that his department has not noticed any provision which assures a higher share of profit to the private sector. The KSERC will keep the best interests of the electricity consumers and the distribution licencees in mind in finalising the draft, the Minister added.

The Commission had published the draft, which lists the guidelines for fixing the tariffs for five years from 2022-23, on August 6. A public hearing was held on September 15 where the KSEB and power sector employees' organisations backed by the CITU and INTUC had strongly opposed the proposals.

Several of the proposals are open to misuse and could push the KSEB into court cases at a later stage, the KSEB had noted at the hearing. The KSEB had, among other things, opposed the draft proposal requiring it to sell surplus electricity to consumers instead of in the open market or power exchanges.

The draft supports the privatisation policies followed by the Central Government in the power sector, the KSEB employees' organisations had alleged. The proposals unduly favour high-end power consumers and contradict the unanimous stand taken by the Kerala Assembly against the Centre’s Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021, according to the unions.


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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 6:03:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/draft-regulations-do-not-oppose-state-government-policies-says-electricity-minister/article36835668.ece

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