The Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission (KSERC) has directed the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) to clear licence fee arrears of Rs.6.43 crore and interest of Rs.7.38 crore for defaulting remittance.
The order issued on June 1 says that all distribution licensees have to pay 0.03 per cent of the revenue from power sale to the commission. While all licensees remitted the fee from 2006-07 to 2016-17, the KSEB had remitted only Rs.7.95 crore from 2011-12 to 2015-16.
The commission had requested the board to furnish a plan for clearing the fee arrears of Rs.6.43 crore due from 2006-07 to 2010-11. But the board contented that the government had issued an order exempting it from paying the fee.
With the commission challenging the order citing anomalies, the government repealed the exemption provision, but again ordered that the board need not remit the arrears and also adjust the Rs.7.95 crore it had paid against the licence fee to be remitted in the coming years. The government had given the exemption to avoid a tariff hike.
The commission refused to buy the argument and said that the order would deprive it of its due income.
The commission also ordered that considering the delay in remittance, the board should pay interest at double the bank rate and in the event of default, it could even revoke the KSEB's licence.
The commission said that the licence fee demanded from the board is a small amount compared to the volume of business it handles and the payment would not result in a tariff shock to the consumers.
It also said that exemption to one licensee would be deemed discriminatory and would go against the provisions of the Electricity Act. In the light of the commission's arguments, the government repealed the provisions through an order issued on July 15 last year.
The commission directed the board to clear the arrears and also the interest for belated remittance. It also specified that only the licence fee could be recovered by way of tariff and interest should be borne by the board itself.
Source- The Hindu