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Decision on power tariff hike in a month, says Kerala SERC chief

According to reports, the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission will take a final decision within one month on KSEB’s recommendation to hike power charges by 32 per cent.

Speaking at a public hearing, Mr K.J. Mathew, chairman of the Commission, said the regulator would hold one more hearing in Kozhikode before issuing its order on KSEB’s tariff petition.

Mr Dejo Kappan, managing trustee of the Centre for Consumer Education, who made a representation at the hearing, said that KSEB had no right to come before the Regulatory Commission seeking a hike in power tariff because it had not yet been unbundled into companies as prescribed by Electricity Act 2003.

The Ernakulam District Residents’ Associations’ Apex Council (EDRAAC) argued for the continuation of the cross-subsidy system, which would help domestic consumers. Residents’ Apex Council, Ernakulam, submitted before the KSERC that the move to increase power charges should be dropped.

Domestic consumers also argued for better efficiency in power utility and improved quality and reliability of power supply.

However, trade bodies such as Hotel and Restaurants Association and Kerala Merchants Union opposed the practice of cross subsidy.

The Electricity Board, in its submission before KSERC in April, had sought to increase its revenue by Rs 1,546 crore during the current financial year with a hike in charges ranging between Rs 1.50 and Rs 7 a unit for consumers spread over eight slabs.

The board had projected a revenue gap of Rs 1.98 per unit, the average cost being projected as Rs 5.66 per unit and the actual realisation being Rs 3.68 per unit.

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