THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For the first time this year, KSEB Limited has been forced to evacuate power from costly thermal and naphtha stations in the state. The utility was forced to purchase power from Brahmapuram and Kozhikode diesel power plants on March 9, the day that witnessed the highest power consumption of the year (77.5 million units). “It is also a fact that we resorted to costly power only for a day, and that too just 0.38 million units. But this is a sign of things to come,” a top KSEBL official said.
“Last year this time, the daily power consumption was less than 65 MU. Now the average daily consumption is more than 75 MU,” he added. KSEBL had earlier estimated that daily consumption would cross 82 MU this summer. Now, it has been revised to nearly 85 MU, especially if summer showers are late to arrive. (The record daily consumption was 80.44 MU, set on April 29, 2016.) It is felt that the existing record will be broken before the start of April.
At the moment, the hope is KSEB can manage the additional demand with the long-term agreements already struck. 1,679 MW will flow in as cost-effective central allocation during the summer. And from long-term contracts, 1,215 MW is expected. Together the supply from these two sources will take care of 68-70 percent of the summer demand. The remaining will be met mostly from virtually no-cost hydel stations, and a minuscule portion from renewable energy sources.
All of this power on an average will cost considerably less than KSEBL’s cost of production of Rs 5.5 a unit. “But if consumption is spiralling out of control we will have no choice but to depend on costly domestic power stations like Brahmapuram and Kozhikode diesel stations, and even NTPC Kayamkulam,” the official said. The cost of power from these units is exorbitant, more than `6 a unit.