KERALA

KSEB puts on hold move to cut supply to KWA

The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) on Thursday temporarily withdrew its decision to discontinue power supply to the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) for not paying power bills.

Electricity Minister A.K. Balan told The Hindu that the Chief Minister had assured the KSEB that the mounting bill arrears of the KWA would be discussed at the next meeting of the Council of Ministers.

With the KSEB, which is bound by the Electricity Act to function on commercial lines, cutting power supply to certain installations of the KWA, some parts of the State had started experiencing a disruption in water supply over the last few days. The issue had naturally led to public protest.

“We are in an unenviable situation in this issue. How can the KSEB function if it does not receive the payments for power supplied,” Mr. Balan said.

Solution

He expressed the hope that the next Cabinet meeting slated for August 13 would come up with some solution to the issue.

Over 50 per cent of the total outstanding receivables of the KSEB was against the name of the KWA in 2008. The KSEB bartered a one-time-settlement (OTS) of arrears with the KWA then and, with the government's assistance, received Rs.250 crore from the KWA against an outstanding sum of Rs.824 crore.

The understanding at the time of executing the OTS was that the KWA would henceforth settle future bills promptly.

However, the bills have once again been falling in arrears since October 2009. As of July this year, fresh dues run up by the KWA, inclusive of interest, came to Rs.147 crore.

A top official of the KSEB said the institution was forced to cut power supply to the KWA when it did not respond positively to several notices issued to it since October last.

The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission had been, of late, taking a very uncompromising stand with regard to recovery of receivables by the KSEB.

The commission had directed the KSEB to submit quarterly reports on the recovery efforts.

The KWA is in big difficulties since it is supplying drinking water at subsidised rates without receiving commensurate financial support.



  • Disruption in water supply in some parts of the State
  • There have been public protests

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