The month of June just gone by was the wettest June in 22 years for Kerala, recording an area-weighted rainfall of 104 cm against a long period average of 65 cm for the month, the excess rainfall received being 60 per cent.
"The last time we had more rains in June was in 1991, when Kerala received 108 cm of rainfall," according to K. Santhosh, Director, Thiruvananthapuram Meteorology Centre.
As a result, Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) received windfall inflow of water to its hydel reservoirs. The KSEB's system statistics, compiled by its State Load Despatch Centre, said its reservoirs received an inflow equivalent to 1,642.94 million units of electricity during this June of copious rainfall.
This is more than double the expectations of the KSEB. The long period average inflow for June is 755.86 million units, according to the KSEB's system data. This means that the inflow received this June is worth 887.08 million units of electricity more than KSEB's expectations.
The variable cost of purchasing energy from liquid fuel thermal power stations now reigns above the level of Rs.12 a unit.
When more than 880 million units of inexpensive hydro power replace an equivalent quantum of energy from expensive liquid fuel thermal power stations, the KSEB's gains from the unexpectedly generous monsoon month of June this time will be upwards of Rs.1,000 crore.
This may ease the financial difficulties of the State power utility this year, though much will depend on the performance of the monsoon during the remaining months of the season that lasts till the end of September.
The long period average inflow is equivalent to 1,513.72 units of power in July, 1,320.06 units in August and 892.58 units in September. Therefore, there is a long way to go. The very poor monsoon last year was the main reason why the power tariffs had to be increased.