Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) is unlikely to seek tariff revision in 2014-15. However, it might seek the power regulator's approval for collection of surcharge to the tune of around Rs 2,000 crore from consumers across the board.
According to sources, the board did not seek permission for power surcharge when it filed the review petition against the regulatory commission's decision to disapprove Rs 1,990.92 in the expense projected for 2013-14.
"This was intentionally as the board authorities knew that the year 2014 being an election year, a demand for tariff revision would not get the state government's backing. Since the finances of the board have increased marginally, the board would seek the regulator's permission to collect the power surcharge from consumers to recoup the additional amount of money it had spent on purchasing power during the height of summer season in 2013'', top sources in the board said.
Meanwhile, the board is unlikely to challenge the regulator's decision to summarily reject its tariff review petition. Though upset with the regulator's attitude toward employee costs, the board would keep quiet this time, as the rejection of review petition is unlikely to make any deep cut in the board's finances. Moreover, the appellate authority is yet to issue any order on an appeal the board had filed against the commission's decision to cut down the employee cost of the board in two consecutive the tariff petitions it filed in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
"As the commission continues to make drastic cut in the employee cost, a clear picture would emerge only after the appellate authority pronounces its verdict in the KSEB's pending appeal on the same issue'', said KSEB finance member S Venugopal. The commission had cut Rs 747.69 crore from the projected employee cost of Rs 2,551.50 crore in the tariff petition for 2013-14.
Though it informed the commission about the purchase of power at rates higher than that approved by the commission, the board did not seek permission for collection of surcharge from consumers when it filed the tariff review petition this time. While the commission put the ceiling for power purchase per unit as Rs 5, the board had spent over Rs 12 at times during the summer season for purchase of power from outside the state.