With the south-west monsoon yet to put in a decent appearance, the coffers of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) are drying up faster than the reservoirs of its hydro-electric projects.
KSEB’s finances have taken a stiff beating buying costlier power from liquid power stations to make up for reduced hydel share in the daily bouquet, KSEB officials said.Purchases from NTPC’s Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Project (RGCCPP), Kayamkulam, is costing the state-run power utility additional financial liability of about `3.3 crore every day. KSEB had scheduled 150 megawatts (MW) daily from Kayamkulam to meet the demand.
Top KSEB officials said if the rain situation did not improve dramatically, it will become increasingly difficult for the KSEB to meet daily expenses.
“Kayamkulam power costs `9.6 a unit. We are getting about three million units (150 MW) from there a day,’’ KSEB member (Finance) S Venugopal said.
The KSEB is also buying power heavily from outside the state through private traders and the Unscheduled Interchange (UI) to make up for the shortfall in hydro-electricity. Hydel reservoirs in the state have water enough to generate only 733 million units (MU). Last year this time, there was water enough for 1702 MU, according to data furnished by Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed in the Assembly on Tuesday.
With the monsoon looking the other way most of June and July, the KSEB had slashed daily hydel generation to between 8 and 9 MU. Better monsoon prospects over last weekend nevertheless prompted the KSEB to up hydel generation on Monday to 17.85 MU, roughly what it would have been had the monsoon been a normal one. But the question is, whether it can be sustained.