Maharashtra power board proposes hike in tariff, service charges

The power tariff revision proposal put up by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) is not limited up to hike in power tariff. The power utility has also proposed to double the monthly fixed charges and various types of service charges. If permitted by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), the electricity consumers will have to cough more than expected from the hike in power tariff.

The MSEDCL recovers Rs 30 from the residential consumers in every month bill in the name of fixed charges. According to the petition filed with the MERC, the MSEDCL has proposed to double the fixed charges, even triple for few categories. The fixed charges are similar for all type of residential categories. But in the revised proposal, the MSEDCL has proposed to levy high charges for those categories consuming high electricity.

If permitted by the MERC, the consumers of two categories – 0-100 units and 101-300 units – will have to pay Rs 60. The consumers consuming electricity between 301-500 units will have to pay Rs 90 and Rs 120 for those consuming electricity between 500-1,000 and above 1,000 units. The consumers availing three phase connection will have to pay Rs 200 as against existing fixed charge of Rs 100.

Similarly, the MSEDCL wants to hike the fixed charges of industries, government institutions and some others. Even, the power utility has proposed to increase the fixed charges of BPL category from Rs 3 to Rs 10 per month.

According to the petition, the MSEDCL too wants to double the service connection charges for new consumers. The saga of revision do not stop here as the MSEDCL has also proposed to increase installation testing charges, reconnection charges, change of location of meter within the same premises, application registration and processing charges.

MERC will decide on the proposal after conducting the public hearings. The commission had admitted the petition on May 17 and through a public notice invited suggestions and objections from the power consumers on or before July 3. The MERC had also issued the schedule for public hearing at six places between July 11 and 27. The hearing would be held in the city on July 13.

Power expert and president of Maharashtra Veej Grahak Sanghatana Pratap Hogade has opposed the proposal to hike various types of charges. “MSEDCL requested the commission to hike the power tariff to a great extent. Any hike in fixed and other type of charges will increase the burden of consumers. The citizens in large numbers should oppose the proposal during the public hearings,” he said.

Justifying the MSEDCL’s proposal, a senior official said that the revision in various types of charges has been proposed after a long time. “Service connection charges have been untouched for past 10 years. The fixed charges too have not been changed in last five years. The commission allowed increase in fixed charges to private power distributors in Mumbai. After that the MSEDCL’s services improved to a great extent. So the proposal is justified,” he said.
Source: TOI

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