Pressed by UDAY deadline, Kerala’s electricity board pitches for hiking tariffs by 10%

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Thiruvananthapuram | Published: January 17, 2019 5:15:11 AM

power sector, power industry, udaiThe State Electricity Tariff Regulatory Commission (SERC) will take a call on this plea this week.

After trimming its aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses to 11.9%, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has pitched for hiking user tariffs by 10% to add at least Rs 1,100-crore revenue per year.

The State Electricity Tariff Regulatory Commission (SERC) will take a call on this plea this week.

SERC is likely to recommend a tariff hike in a day or two, according to state power ministry sources.

However, following the public hearings, the commission may favour a hike closer to 8.5% only.

Kerala is one of the seven states which improved their AT&C scores in tune with the Centre’s Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY).

The other states to get AT&C below 15% (the target for FY19-end) are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh.

One of the chief requirements of the UDAY plan is to jack up the tariffs.

In the current fiscal, KSEB has projected a revenue gap of Rs 1,100.7 crore. Projections are that this would be Rs 1,399 crore during 2019-2020, `2,065 crore during 2020-21 and `2,519 crore during 2021-22, respectively, KSEB chairman NS Pillai told FE.

As per the proposals, the tariffs for the LT-1 (domestic category) will go up in the range of 15 to 95 paise between 2018-19 and 2020-21. KSEB has proposed a hike in tariff and fixed charge for commercial and industrial categories.

Union power minister RK Singh had recently said that across the country, power tariffs are counted to rise by 62 to 93 paise per unit,during the first year of upgrades to coal-fired power plants.
What keeps the state governments sitting pretty over the tariff hike decision is that 2019 is an election year.

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However, the Centre’s new regulations insist that SEBs should roll out the tariff plan and revenue projects for the next four years at one go. To tap the incentive-kitty of the Centre’s Uday plan, states cannot afford to defer the tariff hike decision for long.

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