TIRUVANANTHAPURAM : While it is true the KSEB has not yet sought a formal hike in power tariffs this year, it appears the consumers - many of whom are reeling under rain-related calamities - will still have to shell out a significant sum in the coming three months as surcharge on the power bills. The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission(KSERC) has issued orders allowing the KSEB to collect 15 paise per unit as thermal fuel surcharge on electricity bills to recover the Rs 81.65 crore spent additionally on power purchases between April 2017 -March 2018. The surcharge will be collected in the three-month period from August 16-November 15 this year.
“The fuel surcharge will be applicable to all consumers, including the consumers of all (power distribution) licensees, except domestic consumers with a connected load of and below 500 watt and monthly consumption of and below 20 units. The fuel surcharge shall be collected in addition to the normal electricity charges as per the tariff schedule in force,’’ the commission said in the order issued on Tuesday.
The single order covers three separate fuel surcharge pleas filed by the KSEB for the second, third and fourth quarters of the 2017-18 fiscal. Interestingly, the order signed by commission members Vikraman Nair and S Venugopal includes a dissenting note by the panel’s chairman Preman Dinaraj.
The KSEB files thermal fuel surcharge pleas for every financial quarter to recover additional money incurred on power purchases due to the variation in the fuel prices. The commission had fixed the net surcharge amount for the whole of the 2017-18 fiscal at Rs 180.55 crore. But members Venugopal and Vikraman Nair slashed it to Rs 81.65 crore after considering the savings made on account of short-term purchases. However, Preman Dinaraj, disagreed with the majority view on the grounds the deduction was not supported by the commission’s regulations on the terms and conditions for fixing tariffs.