THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finding fault with the functioning of the Thrissur Corporation Electricity Department (TCED) on several counts, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (C&AG) has asked the State Government to clearly define the role and function of TCED.
Thrissur Corporation is unique in that it is the only local body in Kerala which is a distributor of electricity and water.
The C&AG report (Local Self-Government Institutions) for the year ended March 2008 has pulled up the TCED for incurring ``avoidable financial loss’’ of Rs 2.58 crore, not collecting and accounting another Rs 11.64 crore and incurring excess expense owing to wrong calculation of annual income.
Failure in taking ``appropriate decision,’’ the report notes, resulted in the Corporation needlessly paying Rs 2.58 crore as penal interest to the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).
In a grid tariff revision order on July 8, 1982, the KSEB had prescribed separate rates for licencees/sanction holders (Thrissur Corporation is a licencee) who avail 11 KV and 66 KV power. It also allowed a price rebate of 30 percent on 66 KV with effect from December 2, 1982. The rebate was later withdrawn on November 1, 1988. The TCED, however, did not accept the withdrawal and continued to pay lesser amounts to the KSEB than that billed by the latter. The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, which took up the matter, ordered the TCED to accept the rebate withdrawal and pay up arrears with interest. TCED paid the KSEB Rs 45.49 crore, which included Rs 2.58 crore penal interest.
“Had TCED paid the dues as billed by KSEB and gone for appeal before the tribunal, it could have been possible to claim reimbursement or to avoid payment of interest depending on the decision of the tribunal,’’ the report notes.
The C&AG found that the TCED was not accounting or invoicing energy consumed by street lighting in the Corporation area and by corporation buildings and parks, resulting in Rs 11.64 crore not being accounted for between 2003-04 and 2007-08. Since Thrissur Corporation and TCED are separate entities and the TCED is run on a commercial basis, the energy consumed by the corporation should have been invoiced and accounted for,’’ the report says.
The report described the pace of arrears recovery by TCED as ``tardy.’’ Government/quasi government institutions, PSUs and private firms jointly owe the TCED Rs 8.52 crore in electricity dues (upto the end of March 2008). In another instance, a Thrissur Corporation decision to keep in abeyance a KSEB order and not charge meter rent from TCED consumers resulted in a loss of revenue amounting to Rs 78.24 lakh.
Incorrect calculation of annual income also led to the TCED paying the Local Fund Audit Department an excess audit charge of Rs 42.47 lakh for the period 1996-97 to 2000-01.