THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finally, the state government has initiated measures to resolve the KSEB-Kerala Water Authority (KWA) standoff over the massive power bill arrears run up by the KWA.
Under this, the government has decided to calculate the water bill dues of government departments and local bodies - which owe several crores to the KWA by way of unpaid water bills - and transfer the amount directly to the KSEB.
The decision taken at a high-powered meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary will enable the KWA to clear part of its electricity bill dues. Also, the government has decided to draw up a road map for ensuring timely payment of the authority’s power bills in the future. A high-level meeting will be convened soon to finalise details of the road map which will involve making a detailed re-assessment of the KWA’s power needs, top KSEB sources said.
A staggering `2,441.22 crore is owed to the KSEB by all categories of consumers in unpaid power bills, with the KWA - which owes a significant sum - topping the list of defaulters for sometime now. Presently, the authority’s owes the KSEB `1,219.33 crore.There is a also a sense of deja vu to the KWA’s mounting power bills since this is not the first time this has happened.
In 2008, when the arrears started mounting, the government brokered an agreement between the Kerala Water Authority and KSEB which resulted in the authority paying the latter `250 crore in lump sum towards settling the dues and vowing to pay future bills promptly. However, this failed to work in the longer run.