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KSEB poised to bring operating profits

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), which had a revenue deficit of Rs.1,007 crores in 2003-04, is poised to finish the current financial year with operating profits, according to a review of its performance by the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC).

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, SERC chairman C. Balakrishnan said that this "spectacular turnaround" in the financial performance of the KSEB had made a revision in power tariff unnecessary this year.

At the beginning of the year, while issuing its order on the KSEB's tariff petition, the SERC had said that it would allow the imposition of a surcharge on power tariff later in the year if the monsoon were to bring less than normal rainfall. The monsoon had turned out to be quite good, ensuring copious inflow to the hydel reservoirs of the State.

The KSEB had filed its tariff petition based on an expected inflow worth 6,500 million units of power to the reservoirs. Till November 20, the reservoirs had received inflow to the tune of 7,675.14 million units of power during the course of this financial year. And, with more rains still to come, cheaper hydel power would be available in plenty this year, enabling the KSEB to reduce the purchase of costly thermal power, Mr. Balakrishnan said. He said the latest review of the situation showed that the KSEB could finish the year with a nominal revenue deficit of around Rs.50 crores with the existing storage of water in the reservoirs. This too would definitely vanish since there were more rainy days to come, he said.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the revenue deficit of the KSEB had progressively come down over the last three years, not only due to the good performance of the monsoon, but also because of more efficient revenue collection and reduction in transmission and distribution loss.

From Rs.1,007 crores in 2003-04, the revenue deficit had come down to Rs.343 crores in 2004-05.