THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) Limited is witnessing a tug of war between its managing director and chairman B Ashok and KSEB Officers' Association over the past few months, the former's claim that the board has achieved Rs 600 crore profit has been contested by the association.
It said that the profit was earned during previous CMD NS Pillai's tenure which was achieved by selling excess power at Rs 18-19 per unit. The figure will only reflect in the current fiscal. During 2021-22, the state had received good rainfall following continuous rain.
The board officials ensured that there was no spillage which resulted in power production. Following the pandemic, there was demand for more power when north Indian states stopped producing coal. The state had adequate power following increased production and also because it got excess power owing to the power purchase agreement it had signed.
A top board official told The New Indian Express that the surplus power was sold at Rs 18 - Rs 19 making the KSEB richer by Rs 1000 crore.
"How can the current board claim credit for the Rs 600-crore profits? The national level cost of supply envisaged by the Power Finance Corporation was pegged at Rs 7.44 per unit. But the rate in Kerala was then Rs 6.59 per unit which was 89 paisa less compared to the national rate. This could be achieved because of the average power purchase cost when Kerala could efficiently utilise the power market," said a top board official.
The previous board had also managed to limit the power exchange cost at Rs 15 per unit which was appreciated by the Central Electricity Regulatory Committee. Despite 70 per cent of power being purchased from outside of state, KSEB has been considered as one of the best boards at the national level.
However, K Sunil, president, KSEB Engineers Association, told The New Indian Express that apart from continuous rain, the incumbent CMD, Ashok’s good decision-making skills also played a crucial role.
"Ashok was appointed as the CMD last September. He had appointed a good team of officials to tap Central Aided Projects which were not received for different periods. Once they started efforts to get pending grants diligently, nearly Rs 600 crore could be received. So apart from the sale of electricity, the board garnered the pending funds from the Centre which was achieved due to Ashok’s diligence," said Sunil.