THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), barely out of the red, has unwillingly dented its recently improved finances agreeing to pay a minimum of `65 crore a year to Reliance to ensure uninterrupted power during special occasions
The outgoing government completed its steps to extend a 15-year-old-agreement to buy electricity from Anil Ambani’s BSES Kerala Power Limited (BKPL) which has a naphtha-fired plant in Kochi.
KSEB had earlier in November frozen a two-year extension plan which involves paying fixed cost to the firm irrespective of whether it takes electricity or note. Apart from this, the state has to pay income tax and rent for the land.
“This may transcend into an increased tariff for consumers and a financial burden on the KSEB. It will be paying between Rs 8 and Rs 13 per unit of electricity whereas it pays less than Rs 5 to other power projects,” A.N. Rajan, president of Kerala Electricity Workers Federation, said.
In the last 15 years, KSEB had utilised only 25 percent of the plant’s capacity, and the KSEB had to pay `1,490 crore to BRKL that invested `600 crore, said KSEB officials.
The order passed recently by the government also suggests a switch over to cheaper natural gas, virtually hinting at the possibility of further extending the agreement....