Activists slam hike in BEST power tariff

MUMBAI: Activists have opposed the hike in power tariff imposed by the BEST undertaking from April 1, alleging it was “illegal” and in contempt of court. The BEST has hiked electricity charges by 15%-16% for 10.55 consumers in the island city, and the revised tariff will reflect in April’s bill.

“The Supreme Court has said the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) should determine the new tariff for 2015-16, and this should not include the transport division loss recovery surcharge. So, the BEST can’t hike charges without the MERC coming out with the new tariff order,” said an activist. He added that the new tariff can’t have the losses of the previous fiscals and the carrying costs of past losses. “Any change in tariff will amount to contempt of court as the BEST is implementing a pre-determined tariff as per the multi-year tariff plan of 2013. It should wait for the MERC to determine the new tariff.”

BEST officials said they can hike charges as per the multi-year tariff plan approved by MERC. “The multi-year tariff order says we can hike the charges, and this includes transport division loss recovery, from April 1. So there is nothing illegal about it. We will bill customers for the first 10 days of April according to the new charge, and for the 20 days power consumption in March, the old rates will apply,” an official said.

 

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