Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala High Court has issued a temporary injunction against the KSEB’s plans to raise electricity bills. HC stays KSEB’s strategy of increasing electricity charges to cover cost overruns caused by mismanagement and huge salary hikes. HC criticized that KSEB is following such kind of strategies frequently.
The High Court’s decision to grant a temporary stay comes just as the KSEB was preparing to implement an order raising the tariff from 25 paise to 80 paise per unit. The High Tension (HT) and Extra High Tension (EHT) associations of Industrial Electricity Consumers approached the High Court, expressing concerns that such a significant increase would not only adversely affect industries but also impact the overall productivity of the state.
The regulatory commission completed the enquiry into the KSEB request for a hike in Kerala on May 16. The Court order stated that the charges should not be increased until Justice CS Dias takes up the case again on July 10. Since the current tariff period ends on June 30, the court’s intervention prevents the scheduled increase from taking effect on July 1.
The CAG report had said that the KSEB had incurred huge debt after increasing the salary in 2021 without the government’s approval. To cover this liability, rates are raised annually, which the report considers to be an exploitation of the people without any valid justification for the higher salaries compared to other employees. Earlier, the CAG recommended government to intervene in this matter.
Every day, 78 million units of electricity are supplied to the public. Out of this, production is 15 million units. The rest comes from the central grid at low rates and through long-term contracts at lucrative rates.
If more than this has to be bought, the cost will be charged as a surcharge in the next month. In such a situation there is no loss through power supply. However, the KSEB’s financial losses are a result of salary increases and mismanagement, rather than a deficit in the power supply.