THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KSEB has decided to file a review petition after the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSERC) issued a favourable order to Indsil Hydro Power and Manganese Ltd, a private company based in Coimbatore, which had provided excess energy injected into the grid during the general lockdown period last year at Rs 5.50 per unit. A whopping Rs 6.30 crore has been slapped on KSEB which fears it may have to pass on the buck to consumers in due course. During the lockdown period, KSEB was not interested in getting power, even for Rs 1.50 per unit due to low consumption when the industries were shut down.
Following the state government's policy of encouraging private participation in setting up of hydroelectric projects, Indsil had set up a small hydroelectric project at Kuthungal in Idukki district with a capacity of 21 MW. The Coimbatore-based power company is an Extra High Tension consumer having its factory at Palakkad with the contract demand of 14,000 kilovolt ampere (kVA).
When the state government issued the policy guidelines on setting up small/mini/micro hydel projects under private participation, it was agreed that if there is any dispute or difference of opinion between the agency and KSEB, the matter would be referred to the government and its decision shall be final. A senior KSEB official told The New Indian Express that when the entire country was under complete lockdown during March-June last year, the electricity demand of the state had drastically come down.
"The rate of electricity in the short-term market, including power exchanges, had also drastically come down during the lockdown period on account of the drastic reduction in electricity demand. The average exchange rate was less than Rs 1.50 per unit when the private company had given us an invoice of Rs 6.39 crore for the surplus energy of 11.63 MU banked with KSEB at Rs 5.40 per unit," said a senior KSEB official.
This had happened at a time when the KSEB had been surrendering power from Central Generating Stations, Independent Power Producers, even its own zero variable cost hydel plants during the lockdown period. But INDSIL approached KSERC against the KSEB's non-payment as it maintained that the energy was banked without their permission and was not interested in taking their power at Rs
5.40 per unit. The KSERC had allegedly not taken the dispute before the state government and they ordered KSEB to pay the dues of Rs 6.30 crore.
"This is an illegal action of the KSERC against the consumers and KSEB. We have decided to take legal action against the KSERC's order or else the board will be forced to recommend increased power tariff," a KSEB official told The New Indian Express.