THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: ‘Spread the cheese evenly,’ the State Electricity Regulatory Commission told the KSEB on Wednesday criticising it for restricting power cut proposals to the HT/EHT consumers alone, who formed a relative minority among the one crore-plus consumers of the power utility.
The KSEB proposal to restrict normal tariff-based supply to HT/EHT consumers at 80 per cent of the previous year’s average consumption and charge market rates for the remaining 20 per cent did not constitute ‘fair play,’ the Commission observed at a public hearing held here.
According to KSEB figures, domestic consumers were largely responsible for increase in peak hour power demand, while there were just around 3,000 HT/EHT consumers who constituted the industrial and commercial sector.
KSEB’s justification that it had imposed only a half-hour loadshedding on domestic customers on account of a ‘social cause’ did not go far with the Commission pointing out that it was for the State Government to take care of that aspect.
The Commission also pulled up the KSEB for faulty planning for the summer months. KSEB should have planned well in advance for sealing short-term contracts for power procurement, but failed to do so, the Commission observed.
On its part, the KSEB deposed before the Commission that it had only two options before it to tide over the present crisis - impose the loadshedding and powercuts or purchase heavily from high-cost liquid fuel power stations. Through loadshedding on domestic consumers, the KSEB hoped to save 1.2 million units (MU) daily and through the 20 per cent restriction on industries, 2.8 MU. On the other hand, going for the second option and purchasing heavily from liquid fuel stations would entail a huge financial burden.
In April, the additional liability would be Rs 290.64 crore and in May, Rs 288.56 crore since the price per unit at all liquid fuel stations within the state stood at over `11. As it is, the KSEB was expecting a shortage in power availability of 19 per cent during April and 18 per cent in May. Hydel reservoirs in the state at present had water to generate only 1681 MU, the KSEB told the Commission.