With KSEB Limited's power purchase bill going through the roof, load-shedding looks a distinct possibility. Hydel generation is down. Since consumption shows no sign of cooling, hovering consistently at the summer level of 60 million units daily, purchases from costly diesel and naphtha stations are up.
Load-shedding is seen as the only option to avoid a huge financial burden. With inflow into the reservoirs almost drying up, KSEBL has to draw down hydel generation.
From a daily generation of 18-20 million units all through November, hydel generation has come down to 8 MU. Even when the generation was brought down to 8 MU on December 7, the inflow into the state's dams was even lower (5.7 MU).
This means that if more water is used up, there will not be enough in the reservoirs to see the state through the summer months next year. KSEBL in fact faces a Hobson's choice.
"Since power curbs are politically untenable, KSEBL has no option but to considerably increase purchase from costly stations," a top power official said. From between 3-4 MU during November and the first days of December, the quantity of costly power has now gone up to 8 MU.
KSEBL now purchases power from Kayamkulam NTPC plant at nearly '12 per unit, from Brahmapuram Diesel Power Plant at Rs 10.12 per unit, and from Kozhikode Diesel Plant at 9.8 per unit.
"If such costly purchases continue, KSEBL will have to bear an additional burden of over '900 crore by the end of December," a top KSEBL official said.
Worsening the situation are severe transmission constraints that are blocking even contracted power from flowing to the state.
The power minister, Aryadan Muhammad, has hinted that sooner or later the government would have to think of power curbs.
"If we are not getting power from other state, load shedding has to be imposed," he said in the Assembly.