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Home KSEB 135MW additional power to Kerala just a gimmick

135MW additional power to Kerala just a gimmick

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KC VenugopalThe Union minister for state for power K C Venugopal's announcement that an additional 135 MW power was allotted afresh to Kerala has turned out to be another publicity exercise as it was not a fresh allocation, but a belated partial release of 180 MW power due to Kerala. The minister told media persons in New Delhi the other day that 135 MW power has been sanctioned to Kerala from north-east power grid via the central power pool. However, top sources in the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) confirmed that the Union power ministry, in fact, owes 45 MW more to the state as per an agreement reached between the two during the height of recent summer.

When the power shortage reached its pinnacle during the last March-April period, the Union ministry had asked the state to take high cost power from National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Kayamkulam by bearing the fixed cost for running the plant.

Earlier, Kerala and Tamil Nadu used to draw power from the Kayamkulam plant and the practice was to share the fixed cost equally. The fixed cost for running the plant comes to around Rs 26 crore a month and the power drawn from the plant costs around Rs 11 per unit. Citing the high cost per unit, Tamil Nadu had refused to draw the 180 MW power meant for the state.

In order to compensate the state electricity boards, the Union power ministry used to allot cheap power to the tune of 180 MW to both Tamil Nadu and Kerala when they support NTPC by drawing the high cost power. The power-starved KSEB signed the power purchase agreement with the NTPC on a condition that the Union ministry of power would sanction 180 MW more cheap power to Kerala, which bear the fixed cost all alone. The cost of cheap power from central pool comes around Rs 2 only.

"In fact, Kerala had not been getting the promised 180 MW power as per the agreement with NTPC even two months after the agreement was signed. In that case, Kerala has to get 45 MW more for honouring the undertaking," sources said.

Source- Times of India


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