Malls in the city are learnt to be under Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (KSEBL) scanner following suspicions of widespread manipulation of tariffs. Tariff misuse, detected in a mall in the city last week, has forced authorities to keep a tab on all the malls in Kochi.
Last week, KSEB's vigilance wing, which inspected the mall, assessed tariff manipulation at around 1. 2 crore. "Later, the amount was reduced to Rs 80 lakh, based on a complaint by mall authorities," a source with KSEB said.
"The mall has two types of connections - high tension (HT) and low tension (LT). While the HT connection is used for common power needs for utilities such as lifts, LT connections are used by shops in the mall," he said.
"For the past six months, mall authorities was supplying power to shopowners in the building from the HT connection. While the tariff for HT connection comes to only Rs 5 to 7 per unit, the rate for LT is Rs 9 per unit," he said.
While taking a HT connection, consumers have to make huge initial investments compared with a LT connection. Consumers have to pay a huge amount as security deposit on the basis of the connected load (total electricity requirement as per the power points provided).
"If they require a HT connection for the entire need, including that of individual shops in the mall, they will have to shell out a huge amount as deposit. They will have to pay other one-time charges as well," a KSEB official said.
In the coming days, KSEB will inspect other malls in the city. "The mall we inspected last week is a small one compared to others in the city. If others are also manipulating tariffs, losses suffered by the KSEB may run into crores," an official said.