Government announces amnesty scheme for power consumers
The Maharashtra government, caught between the rising mismatch between demand and supply of power and deteriorating finances of power utilities, has introduced an amnesty scheme for payment of dues by consumers. The scheme would be applicable for the recovery of pending electricity bills for various drinking water schemes.
State finance minister Ajit Pawar, in his Budget proposals for 2012-13, announced state-run MahaVitaran, which is engaged in power distribution, would waive 100 per cent of the interest amount on arrears of the electricity bills of the rural and urban water supply schemes. This would result in reducing Rs 935 crore from electricity bills. However, the finance minister clarified the consumers would require to pay the arrears of original electricity bills in 12 equal installments.
Industrial consumers, whose electricity was permanently cut off, would have a waiver of 50 per cent of the interest amount in the arrears. These consumers owe a total of Rs 280 crore. However, with the proposed scheme, Rs 140 crore would be reduced in the electricity bills which would hlp revival of closed industrial units, Pawar said.
He noted if such closed industrial units pay the entire arrears of the original electricity bills, as well as 20 per cent of the interest amount within three months, then the remaining 30 per cent interest amount would also be waived.
For residential consumers owing Rs 390 crore in electricity bills, the government has proposed MahaVitaran would write off 50 per cent interest and Rs 195 crore of fines. MahaVitaran would also give concessions in the interest payment in the arrears to consumers below poverty line, those living in tribal areas, beneficiaries of the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana, residents whose electricity supply had been permanently cut off and agricultural consumers. These consumers, if they avail of these concessions, would see a benefit of up to Rs 1,700 crore.
The government, which vowed to make Maharashtra load-shedding free by the end of 2012, has proposed an outlay of Rs 1,500 crore towards equity capital of the state-run MahaGenco which has planned 11,015 Mw power generation during the current financial year. It has also allocated Rs 500 crore towards equity capital for MahaVitaran, which has proposed an expenditure of Rs 2,500 crore for improvement of infrastructure during current financial year. The government has also made an allocation of Rs 30 crore to MahaTransco, which is engaged in power transmission to meet its expenditure on capital works.