Ambitious plans afoot to boost hydel power generation
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sitting on a huge asset book valued at Rs30,560 crore (as per the available figures), the Kerala State Electricity Board Ltd (KSEBL) that accounts for the production (generation) of only a one-fifth of the electricity needs of the state has announced yet another financial year of loss – at Rs784.09 crore for FY2018.
[It’s true that most corporates have announced their FY2019 financials, but for most Kerala PSUs this is the ‘normal’ as there are scores of PSU companies that are yet to announce their FY16 and FY17 financials.]
In fact, KSEBL has far improved its bottom line this time as the loss for the previous year was about double that, at Rs1494.63 crore.
The net loss of the company for 2018-19 has been assessed as Rs1214.08 crore and forecast at Rs1385.80 crore for 2019-20. “The loss will be made good by subsidy from Government or through additional revenue as decided by State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC),” a KSEBL document noted.
With sustained reporting of loss year after year, KSEBL with a share capital of Rs3499.05 crore carries a negative net worth of Rs6277.56 crore as of FY2018 end, and this is likely to increase further for the current year.
The biggest debility the company suffers now is that it is able to generate only 22 per cent of its requirement, the rest 78 per cent being outsourced from different agencies. Against the state’s annual requirement of 24,933 million units, KSEBL’s hydel projects could generate only 5488.94 mu, though this is an improvement over the previous year when it generated only 4319.08 mu.
The encouraging aspect of KSEBL’s power generation is that though the thermal and wind modes of power generation have dwindled for the period under review, with thermal plunging by more than 95 per cent to a meagre 1.86 mu, the solar power generation witnessed a growth of about 160 per cent to 13.45 mu during the said period.
According to KSEBL estimates, solar power generation is bracing for a more than three-fold growth during 2018-19 and further from thereafter.
The ever growing debt has been a drag on the company whose borrowings grew by more than double-fold last year from Rs6166 crore to a whopping Rs18,672.14 crore.
While the purchase of power accounts for almost 56 per cent of the company’s expenditure, cost of employees, who are said to be in far excess in the current state of affairs, accounts for 19.61 per cent and the finance cost, as is obvious with the given size of borrowings, being responsible for close to 14 per cent of the company expenditure.
However, ambitious plans are afoot for KSEBL to boost the hydel generation, which has proved to be much more economical and eco-friendly.
Increasing the capacity of hydel generation by harnessing the untapped potential in the state without much disturbance to the forest and its bio-diversities is the key strategy followed by KSEBL.
“Hydel energy being green energy and low cost one, company continues to concentrate on adding to the capacity of hydel generation,” KSEBL said.
The Government has announced a major mission named ‘Saura” for developing a total 1000 MW of solar generation from land, roof-top, canal top, highway and solar park installations within a period of 3 years in addition to solar generation capacity from KSEBL’s own land.
The revised capital outlay for generation work for the year 2018-19 is Rs654.76 crore and for 2019-20, it is Rs897.07 crore, according to KSEBL document released recently.
Generation works for the year 2019-20 include 10 on-going projects (Pallivasal Extension, Sengulam Augmentation, Thottiar, Bhoothathankettu, Chathankottunada-II, Poringalkuthu, Peruvannamoozhi, Chinnar, Pazhasisagr, Upper Kallar) and 20 new schemes (Athirapally, Anakayam, Mankulam, Achankovil, Peechad, Western Kallar, Chembukadavu-III, Olikkal, Poovaramthode, Pambar, Ladrum, Vadakkepuzha Extension, Marmala, Upper Sengulam, Valanthode, Maripuzha, Moorikkadavu, Pambla, Passukadavu and Chattankottunada.
A budget provision of Rs298.75 crore for 2018-19 and Rs454.47 crore for 2019-20 has been made for the hydel projects including the completed schemes.
The provision for thermal projects during 2018-19 was Rs2.01crore, and Rs2.78 crore for the year 2019-20. The total outlay proposed for Renovation & Modernisation of hydro-electric stations for 2018-19 was Rs136.65 crore and Rs133.75 crore during 2019-20.
“The renovation and modernisation include the renovation works of Poringalkuthu, Sholayar, Kuttiadi, Idukki Stage-I and Sengulem Pump House,” the document further added.