Kerala Faces Electricity Cess Surge as Summer Consumption Soars, Proposed Hike to 45 Paise per Unit

As Kerala experiences a surge in summer electricity consumption, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) grapples with a substantial increase in purchased power costs. The rising burden, estimated at Rs 4 to 6 crores daily, prompts KSEB to consider passing on the expense to consumers through a proposed hike in electricity cess. Currently, a cess of 19 paise per unit is in place to offset the monthly expenditure of Rs 87 crores on imported electricity. With the situation worsening, KSEB aims to seek approval from the Electricity Regulatory Commission to increase the cess to 45 paise, emphasizing the need for conservation measures to curb consumption and mitigate the financial strain on power procurement.

In February, electricity demand surged to 9.2 to 9.5 crore units compared to the usual 8.5 crore units, creating a deficit of 1.2 crore units that necessitates costly purchases from the national market. The soaring temperatures are expected to escalate daily electricity demand to 90 lakh to 1.4 crore units, intensifying reliance on high-priced national market power. Despite selling electricity at an average of Rs 6.10 per unit, KSEB faces financial challenges due to increased procurement costs. The dwindling water levels in dams, currently at 55%, limit hydroelectric potential, prompting KSEB to implement conservation measures and address the growing evening electricity consumption exacerbated by the proliferation of air conditioners in the state.

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