The power purchase rate of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) from National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has touched an all-time high of Rs 12.17 per unit, aggravating resource crunch in the Board.
The 350MW of power purchased at this rate is being distributed to the domestic and HT consumers at a lower rate. After the revision recently, the average tariff of domestic consumers was fixed at Rs 2.80 per unit and HT consumers who consumed more than 30,000 units were charged Rs 5.50 a unit.
KSEB member (finance) S Venugopal said that this was for the first time that the power cost had increased to such a level prompting the Board to charge more from consumers. KSEB is in a severe financial crisis with the higher rate of Rs 12.17 a unit from NTPC and a decision on power hike has to come at the earliest.
The hike in rate from NTPC came into force from September 16. KSEB has to pay Rs 42.5 crore daily to NTPC when the full capacity of the plant is utilised for the power distribution.
Venugopal said that the power generation from the hydel stations has been reduced to ensure that there would be sufficient water to produce power till the next monsoon. To end the crisis, all expectations are on the next monsoon to fill the dams in Kerala.
To tide over the crisis, KSEB is purchasing 350 MW from NTPC. On holidays, it is restricted to 150 MW to reduce the financial liabilities. NTPC sources said that the prices of naphtha had increased in the last two weeks. Now naphtha costs Rs 67,000 for a metric ton which was Rs 57,000 earlier and the sudden escalation of prices forced NTPC to sell power at a higher price.
Apart from the power generation from hydel stations, diesel power plants and Central allocation of 1,180 MW, KSEB is purchasing power from other private players at a higher cost to meet the demand.
KSEB has introduced unofficial loadshedding in some the areas to meet the power crisis. It will be continued till there is sufficient water in the dams to generate power.
KSEB sources said that the distribution of power from feeder lines would be stopped when there are voltage fluctuations. When the frequency is below 49.8 Hz and above 50.2 Hz the power distribution would be stopped, they said.