THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (KSERC) refusal to clear a major chunk of its long-term power purchase plans has landed the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) in a fix.
For, a beleaguered KSEB is fearful of losing suppliers from outside the state, with whom deals were struck. As per contract, the supply of power has to start in December this year. The KSEB has written to the state government asking it to obtain clarification from the centre on the deals. Interestingly, it has decided not to appeal against the KSERC order, even though the deals, maintain KSEB officials, had full approval of its director board, an expert committee and the state government.
In an August 30 order, KSERC chairman T M Manoharan single-handedly - the other two KSERDC officials did not sign the order - set aside deals worth 565 MW of a total 865 MW proposal for tying up power in power plants outside Kerala for the next 25 years. It said the KSEB did not follow central guidelines in inking agreements under the Design, Build, Finance, Own and Operate (DBFOO) mode. The regulatory body approved only two deals worth 300 MW, setting aside the rest pending clarifications from central and state governments.
However, top KSEB officials told ‘Express’ recently that the decision was taken in best interests of the state and saved the exchequer around Rs 350 crore. “Moreover, it was done with the full knowledge of KSEB director board and the state government, with the latter clearing the deals in December 2014,” they added.
‘’At the time, KSEB also wrote to the Centre for clarification on guidelines, but it was not given,” said a KSEB official. “We are positive about obtaining centre’s nod. But, there is a chance private suppliers may back out if they smell better opportunities elsewhere,’’ the official added.
The pending agreements involve 115 MW from Jhabua Power Ltd, Gurgaon, 100 MW each from Jindal India Thermal Power Ltd, Jhabua Power Ltd and East Coast Energy Pvt Ltd and an additional 150 MW from Jindal Power Ltd.