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‘Save energy’ drive to avert tariff hike

Special Correspondent

KSEB may finish 2008-09 with a revenue deficit of Rs.1,100 crore: Balan

2-3 million units of expensive energy used daily

Plea to bring down overall energy demand

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State is going in for a public campaign to take the message of energy conservation to the people to lessen the need for a power tariff hike during the course of the next four or five months.

Electricity Minister A.K. Balan announced this at a function called here on Tuesday to compliment the Energy Management Centre for winning this year’s national award for the best performing ‘State designated agency’ for implementing energy conservation measures.

Mr. Balan said that the KSEB had finished the first eight months of this financial year (till the end of November) with a revenue gap of Rs.490 crore, since it had to buy large unbudgeted quantities of expensive energy from liquid fuel power stations to meet the demand in the State.

According to latest projections, without further supply restrictions or the imposition of further surcharges, the KSEB would finish 2008-09 with a revenue deficit of Rs.1,100 crore, Mr. Balan said. The situation pointed to “certain inevitabilities” (further restrictions/ tariff hike), which could be averted only if the consumers consciously reduced their demand for electricity. He said the KSEB was now on an average drawing between 2 and 3 million units of very expensive energy daily through the power exchange system to make good the shortage of power availability from all other sources. The daily demand was in the range of between 42 and 43 million units now. This would go up to around 50 million units by March-April, the time of public examinations and hot summer weather. Then larger quantities of expensive energy would have to be bought to keep the show going.

Mr. Balan said the State should be able to bring down the overall energy demand by at least 5 million units a day through conscious energy conservation measures. “We have drawn up the blueprint for a massive public campaign to make this possible,” he said. The plan was to involve the local bodies actively in the campaign, turning the ward-level family meetings into a platform to drive home the message of energy conservation. The KSEB would buy 10 million compact florescent lamps for distribution to domestic consumers through the local bodies.

The campaign, which would use all forms of the media, would also focus on school students, he said.

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