THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Despite tallying heavy loss, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has done precious little to recover arrears in tune to crores from high-end defaulters - largely private sector majors and government departments. According to the data presented by Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed in the Assembly on Tuesday, the KSEB had registered a loss of Rs1272 crore in 2014-15. In this period, power bill arrears have mounted to Rs1961.57 crore. Despite repeated warnings by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission, the KSEB has not been able to recover the dues from the defaulters. The regulatory commission said in a May 2010 order regarding arrears:
“KSEB shall take effective steps to reduce the accumulation of arrears from consumers including government departments. The powers of the KSEB as a licencee shall be invoked for the purpose.”
When the UDF government came to power in May 2011, the arrears had stood at Rs1202 crore. Which means, in the last four years, the outstanding sum has shot up by more than Rs750 crore.
The semi-government and state PSUs alone owe the KSEB Rs1106.31 crore, while private consumers - companies and individuals - owe Rs664.7 crore.
State government institutions have run up dues to the tune of Rs120.86 crore. Of the Rs917 crore owed by the Kerala Water Authority, it has now been decided to adjust Rs 500 crore by way of duty payable by KSEB to the state government, the Electricity Minister said.
According to him, the KSEB has not waived the principal amount for any of the consumers.
However, as per a one-time settlement scheme, the KSEB has slashed interest rates from 18 per cent to six per cent for arrears older than five years and to eight per cent for arrears older than two years. The Minister said in a written reply that the KSEB’s liabilities stood at Rs5905.11 crore.
This include overdraft of Rs1635.70 crore, short term loans of Rs2500 crore, mid-term loans of Rs313.89 crore and long-term loans to the tune of Rs1455.52 crore. While the utility has a monthly revenue of Rs867.74 crore, expenses amount to Rs974.43 crore.