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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 19 May 2024 7.55 PM IST

Kaumudi impact: Immediate action to avoid load shedding; High-level meeting today

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Urgent government intervention to save KSEB, which is resorting to load shedding because of a financial crunch due to a lack of money to purchase energy. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan directed the Chief Secretary to get the dues to be paid by the government institutions including the Water Authority as soon as possible and to take other steps to compensate the loss of KSEB. A high-level meeting will be held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister today at 3 pm to discuss the power crisis in detail. The chief minister's intervention was prompted by the Kerala Kaumudi report (March 8) that load shedding would be necessary if the government did not show mercy. Kerala Kaumudi also wrote an editorial on March 9 regarding the KSEB crisis.

Loans taken from NABARD and German Bank on behalf of KSEB are yet to be transferred. 760 crore, which is 60 percent of the last financial year's loss of 1368 crore, has been taken over by the government, but that too has not been paid. This has put KSEB in more financial straits. At Rs 2,068 crore, Water Authority has the highest electricity bill arrears among government institutions. The government has decided to take over this fully. The government will pay this amount in 10 instalments of Rs 206 crore each from April. The government also proposed to open an escrow account to pay the monthly electricity bill amounting to 37 crores of the water authority.

An escrow account is a joint account under the supervision of the Finance Department, with provision for the water authority to deposit money and the KSEB to withdraw. Energy Department Secretary KR Jyothilal issued an order regarding these decisions yesterday.

Reason for the crisis

  • Electricity consumption is over 100 million units per day
  • Due to less rainfall, water storage in reservoirs has decreased
  • 465 MW power is not available due to the cancellation of four long-term contracts

15 crore per day to buy electricity

At present three to five million units of electricity have to be purchased from outside at exorbitant prices. The electricity purchased in this way has to be paid for on the same day. 10 to 15 crore rupees will be required for this per day. The warning is that load shedding will have to be introduced otherwise. Daily consumption from Monday is 101 million units. To overcome this, 19.72 million units of electricity are generated daily from hydropower projects. The amount of water needed to keep this going will not be there all summer long.

The Chief Minister has called a meeting today to resolve this. Finance Minister, Water Resources Minister, Power Minister, Chief Secretary and Department Secretaries will attend.

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