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Cabinet to decide on power subsidy

Special Correspondent

Thiruvananthapuram: Electricity Minister A.K. Balan on Wednesday said the Left Democratic Front and the Cabinet would decide whether the electricity tariff subsidy for domestic consumers should be continued. But the Minister said that from December 1, domestic consumers would have to pay tariff at the rates recommended by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) that did not consider the 20 paise subsidy extended to this category by the previous United Democratic Front regime.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Balan made it clear that the Power Department would not be in a position to absorb the subsidy of 20 paise per unit for domestic consumers. The previous UDF government had failed to release in advance the Rs.120 crore to the Kerala State Electricity Board as subsidy amount.

The then Finance Minister Vakkom Purushothaman had strongly opposed the move as irregular as it did not have the approval of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission or the State Cabinet. He said the subsidy decision was illegal and therefore the SERC did not consider it while considering the tariff revision proposal.

The State government was statutorily required to pay as advance any subsidies it wanted to provide. He also said that as per Section 67 of the SERC Act, the KSEB was bound to recovery the subsidy amount it had given to consumers.

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