KSEBL is now more of a ‘power’ broker

Electricity Board produces only 25 pc of state’s requirement


KOCHI: The Kerala State Electricity Board Ltd (KSEBL), the owner of scores of dams and 35 odd power generation centres, seems to be happily maturing as a ‘power broker’ that arranges electricity for the consumers in the state rather than generate it.

While only about 25 per cent of the energy requirement in the state is being met from the hydro power plants owned and operated by KSEBL [as estimated for 2018-19], the lion’s share of the state’s electricity requirement, i.e. about 75 per cent, is being arranged by KSEBL from outside sources, mainly Central Generating Stations (CGS).

A KSEBL document itself endorses that about 60 per cent of the total revenue earned by the company directly goes to settle the power purchase bill and another big expenditure head for the company is obviously the employees cost, which is estimated to cross Rs2850 crore for 2018-19.

“Of the total power requirement of the state at 25,470 million units (mu) estimated for 2018-19, the internal generation is expected to be 6292.83 mu, whereas the power purchase is estimated to be 19,177.56 mu,” the KSEBL document has noted.

The picture with regard to power purchase was even worse during the previous two years as only 18.80 per cent of the power consumed in the state was produced by KSEBL in 2016-17, with the remaining over 71 per cent of the requirement having been met through outside purchases. This had slightly improved to 23.27 per cent during 2017-18 as per the revised estimates (RE).

On the power suppliers, KSEBL has stated that the energy availability from CGS, the largest supplier to KSEBL, is 10,441.18 mu for the year 2017-18 and for 2018-19 it will be raised to an estimated 11,290.50 mu.

The energy expected from small independent power projects (IPPs) and wind projects for the year 2017-18 is 296.17 mu and for 2018-19, it is expected to be 277.82 mu.

“In order to meet the energy demand and also avoid the energy schedule from the high cost liquid fuel stations, KSEBL has been taking all possible efforts to procure energy through traders and energy exchanges from various generating stations located outside the state at most competitive rates. The total energy proposed to be procured through such sources is about 9278.mu during 2017-18 and 7609.24 mu for 2018-19,” the official document adds.

For the current year (2018-19), the income from the sale of power is estimated to be Rs12,679 crore whereas the other income is expected to contribute Rs441 crore to the topline, taking the estimated total revenue to about Rs13,121 crore.

After spending Rs8156.70 crore on power purchase, Rs2854 on employee remuneration, another Rs2280 crore on employees’ pension and Rs1286.31 crore on interest, KSEBL is destined to close the current year too in ‘red’ (estimated at Rs2740 crore).

However, KSEBL claims that the company has plans to enhance power generation substantially, especially by commissioning more hydel projects, and plans are underway for the same.

The capital outlay for generation work for the year 2017-18 has been set at Rs455.13 and for 2018-19 at Rs720.43 crore. Generation works for the year 2018-19 include nine ongoing projects and 19 new schemes including the controversial Athirapally project.

The brighter side of the transmission and distribution (T&D) of the company is that KSEBL has been able to bring down the T&D loss from 30.76 per cent to 13.93 per cent between 2001-02 and 2016-17.

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