KERALA

No power cut planned: Minister

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM AUG. 26. The Government does not propose to impose a power cut in the State despite a 25 per cent fall in inflows to hydel reservoirs during the past two-and-a-half months, the Electricity Minister, Kadavoor Sivadasan, has said.

Addressing a press conference here today, the Minister said that this would mean that the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) would have to spend an additional amount of Rs. 3 crores a day to purchase power from the Central pool. However, the Government wanted power tariffs to be affordable to the consumers. So, it would seek no increase in tariffs.

Mr. Sivadasan said that the hydel generation had been slashed by half to 8.27 million units a day in view of the precarious situation. The inflow between June 1 and August 22 this year was enough to produce only 1,551.93 million units while it was equivalent to 2,274.63 million units last year. The inflow during the corresponding period in 2001 was equivalent to 3,562.61 million units. The water management was being carried out with the expectation that the North-East monsoon would not fail. The situation would be reviewed on September 1.

He said that consultants would be appointed to prepare a transfer scheme for corporatisation of the KSEB. The asset of the Board would vest with the Government as per the provisions of the Central Electricity Act, 2003, and these would have to be transferred to one or more companies to be constituted as per the transfer scheme. As time would be needed to prepare the scheme, the Government had suspended operation of the provisions of the Act for six months.

Referring to the agitation by the Joint Action Council of trade unions of Indian Aluminum Company (Indal), the Minister said that the agitation was being continued without realising the fact that the Board had lost its monopoly under provisions of the Act and had no powers to increase or reduce tariffs. The powers regarding tariffs revision rested with the Electricity Regulatory Commission (ERC). The Board could not offer lower tariff to Indal because of this. The company could freely purchase power from any power producer inside or outside the State. The Board would have to seek wheeling charges and surcharge from the company for the same as provided in the Act. It cannot default on seeking the charges before the ERC. The final decision rested with the ERC.

He said that the State Committee on Science, Technology and Environment was examining whether suitable land was available for establishment of an atomic power plant in the State on a request from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. Pre-qualification tenders would be called shortly for setting up a wind farm at Ramackalmedu.

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