Thiruvananthapuram: The betrayal of the southwest monsoon had jolted the power sector but KSEB Limited has decided to act swiftly to prevent any crisis that could be precipitated. KSEBL will soon float tenders to secure 150 MW from power traders for the three summer months of March, April and May next year. Top KSEBL sources confirmed that no power restrictions would be imposed on the state.
The monsoon was so weak (IMD figures say it was deficient by 33 percent) that the inflow into the state’s reservoirs was over 40 percent lower than expected. This will mean hydel generation will have to be drawn down to conserve enough water for the coming months. “To make up for the loss of hydel power that the state gets for virtually no cost, KSEBL will have to secure costly thermal power from the open market. There will definitely be a financial strain, but power restrictions of any kind have been ruled out,” a top KSEBL source said.
KSEBL had two options. One: urgently strike medium-term agreements to procure 150 MW to cover the summer of 2017. Or it could have deferred the power purchase till summer and then secure power from the day-ahead market through the power exchange. “The second option was found risky as we are not sure how a highly volatile day-ahead market plays out. The power costs could go shooting up the roof at that point in summer and we could be badly hit,” the official said.
If KSEBL could fend off a crisis by purchasing 150 MW from traders, it is also because it has been cushioned by some timely power deals struck during the UDF period. Thanks to these long-term deals, the state already receives 600-odd MW from private sources at an average of Rs 4 per unit. This December, the quantum of such power will increase.
That the state is sitting pretty in spite of a poor monsoon is borne out by this fact: KSEBL has not scheduled even one unit of power from costly diesel stations like Brahmapuram and Kozhikode diesel plants and also from NTPC’s Kayamkulam plant....