Thiruvananthapuram: Like all industries in the private and public sector, the Kerala State Electricity Board is also facing a grave crisis following the lockdown over coronavirus outbreak. The major reasons for the crisis is the fall in power consumption and failure to purchase and sell power on the basis of long term contract.
It is assumed that KSEB will be in trouble to meet the daily expense if the centre does not grant the financial allowance entitled for power distribution companies in the country.
“At present, power consumption has decreased by 2 cr units per day,” said KSEB chairman NS Pillai.
As power consumption has fallen, KSEB stopped purchasing power from other states based on long term contract.
A fixed charge must be paid to the electricity producers even though the supplied power is not used. Hence, KSEB will incur a daily loss of Rs 14 cr from the payment of fixed charges and fall in power sale.
Earlier, KSEB used to receive an average income of Rs 45 crore from payment of electricity bills. But as the government has given relaxation in bill payments, only Rs 5 crore was collected per day.
Though the cash counters are closed following the lockdown, KSEB offered online payment facility to the customers. But the number of e-payment users is very less.
KSEB hopes to collect the revenue from bill payment step by step after the lockdown. But if the lockdown continues, KSEB will face more loss in future.
As demand from other states also falls, KSEB is unable to sell the additional power. According to sources, KSEB has to cut short other expenditures to distribute salary to the staff.
So far, the centre has extended the deadline to make payments to power producers from other states till June. If KSEB fails to make payment after June, 18 per cent interest should be paid to the power producer. The centre has also reduced this interest rate as 12 per cent.
Though time relaxation was given, KSEB has to pay 12 per cent interest for failing to pay the bill after June.
Source : Mathrubhumi