On May 9, fomer DGP Sreelekha cautioned consumers against joining the 'Soura' project in a Facebook post titled ‘Don’t opt for an on-grid solar project, the KSEB will steal the power.’  Image used for representation.
On May 9, fomer DGP Sreelekha cautioned consumers against joining the 'Soura' project in a Facebook post titled ‘Don’t opt for an on-grid solar project, the KSEB will steal the power.’ Image used for representation.

Former Kerala DGP’s allegation triggers debate over viability of KSEB’s 'Soura' project

The KSEB has been promoting solar rooftop power projects offering a 40% subsidy under the 'Soura' project. The project offers a five-year warranty and a reduction in electricity bill.

KOCHI: An argument between former DGP R Sreelekha and the KSEB over installing a grid-connected rooftop solar system has triggered a debate on social media regarding the benefits and potential of the project. The KSEB has been promoting solar rooftop power projects offering a 40% subsidy under the 'Soura' project. The project offers a five-year warranty and a reduction in electricity bill. The power generated by the rooftop solar panels during day time will be transmitted to the grid and the consumer can use power equivalent to the generation during night hours.

However, the project has become a burden to the KSEB as around 1.28 lakh people have joined the scheme. These rooftop solar units generate 1,120 MW of power a day. According to the KSEB, the upper class consumers have installed more air conditioners at home and are using power lavishly during night hours which has led to a spike in peak hour power consumption. The state recorded a maximum demand of 5854 MW on May 3, causing concern that the demand may breach the maximum capacity of 6000 MW at any time. “We are discounting the entire power transmitted to the grid from the bill,” said an officer.

On May 9, Sreelekha cautioned consumers against joining the 'Soura' project in a Facebook post titled ‘Don’t opt for an on-grid solar project, the KSEB will steal the power.’ Sreelekha said she decided to join the rooftop solar project two years ago when her power bill crossed Rs 20,000. In the initial days, the power bill came down to Rs 800.

Former kerala DGP R Sreelekha IPS
Former kerala DGP R Sreelekha IPS

However, it saw a gradual rise during the past six months and she received a bill of Rs 10,038 for April. “The bill for April was more than the bill I received before installing the solar plant. The KSEB charges double the amount than other states and they have set different tariffs for daytime and night. My 5 KW solar plant generates 600 units of power a month but the KSEB accounts only for 300 units. The project is not beneficial to consumers. So, in my opinion, it is good to opt for an off-grid solar power plant,” she said.

Responding to Sreelekha’s post, the KSEB said it was not factual and is the result of misunderstanding. As per the bill shared by Sreelekha, her rooftop power plant generated 557 units of power in April and 290 units of power were transmitted to the grid after consumption at home. She consumed 1,282 units of power in the months of which 399 units were consumed during day time, 247 units between 6 pm and 10 pm and 636 units between 10 pm and 6 am.

The KSEB reduced the 290 units transmitted to the grid from the total consumption and issued a bill for 992 units. As per the tariff, the bill for 992 units is Rs 10,038. The KSEB purchases power from the national grid at a higher rate during peak hours under the dynamic pricing system. The tariff has been fixed by calculating the average purchase price.

Replying to the KSEB’s explanation, Sreelekha took to Facebook on Saturday, stating that the method adopted by KSEB to calculate consumption is not convincing. “The KSEB is arguing that I have consumed an additional 267 units over my monthly consumption of 992 units. Does that mean that I have consumed more than 1,300 units of power in a month. Can I consume more than 1,300 units in a month even if I run three air conditioners, two motor pumps, mixie, grinder, oven, washing machine, computer and laptop round the clock?” she asked.

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