THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A beleaguered Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has devised a special scheme to recover over Rs 1,200 crore pending as electricity bill arrears from consumers so that it can meet its pension liabilities.
Soon to become a company, the KSEB is re-assessing its pension liabilities against the backdrop of the recent pay revision. At present, pension liabilities remain unfunded, even though the government has agreed to meet a portion of it. The rest, the KSEB hopes to raise through the special arrears recovery scheme.
Orders issued two days ago allow High Tension/Extra High tension (HT/EHT) consumers and Low tension (LT) consumers to pay up the principal amount of the dues in a one-time settlement.
Penal interest on it will be reduced to five percent, and, for government departments and closed-down industrial units, the interest rate will be three per cent. The scheme will be open up to March 31 this year.
Earlier too, the state-run power utility has organised special adalats for recovering dues.
The recent 100-day programme of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy too had a scheme allowing settlement of outstanding arrears. These initiatives, apparently, have grazed just the tip of the iceberg.
“Though the board has collected huge amount of arrears through the above schemes, the accrued arrears of LT consumers as on June 30, 2011, is `303.06 crore and that of HT/EHT consumers is `899.53 crore. There are a lot of consumers whose service connections were dismantled due to long-pending arrears and against whom revenue recovery action has been initiated by the board, but no amount has been realised from them. Hence, huge amount of revenue is still pending realisation to the board,” reads the order dated February 17.
On the other hand, pension is a growing matter of concern for the KSEB. On March 31, 2011, the power utility had 31,108 pensioners.
Budgetary estimates for the 2012-2013 fiscal show that the KSEB will have to cough up `853.97 crore for meeting annual pension and terminal benefits.