Another power shock for KSEB consumers? Likely, says minister

Minister says KSEB facing Rs7,300-crore debt burden

According to Power Minister M.M. Mani's hint  a hike in power tariff is imminent,  owing to Rs 7,300-crore debt burden faced by Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) Ltd and dependence on power sources from outside for 70% of the state's requirement.   

“Consumers will have to bear the burden of the hike and it is inevitable. Nearly 99.9% of the revenue of the KSEB is from tariff and hike has to be effected,’’ the Minister said at a press conference here on Tuesday.

 Mani said that if the power tariff is not raised,  the KSEB may face a financial crisis and would have to depend on the State exchequer for remaining viable.  A  Rs4,035.57-crore project will be rolled out by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on June 14 to reduce transmission loss and provide hassle-free electricity to consumers. Named Dyuthi 2021, the project, to be completed in 2021, aims at modernising electric lines using new technology and easy detection of faults in the lines.

Smart meters would be installed for domestic consumers for consumption more than 200 units under the Uday scheme of the Centre. The cost of installation will be borne by the KSEB.

The minister also said that a wave energy project will be launched off the Vizhinjam coast. Emphasis would be given to solar energy and small hydroelectric projects to meet the energy needs.

On the Athirappilly project, the Minister said the government was of the view that the project should be implemented. The Congress was opposing it and the CPI had reservations about the project. The project could be implemented only if there was a consensus, he said.

The KSEB would resume all power projects that had been held up for a host of reasons, Mani said, adding that the Pallivasal project had technical problems. The Minister said the KSEB suffered a loss of Rs12 core on account of the recent rain havoc in which 6,000 electric posts were damaged and connections of three lakh consumers were disrupted.