With several consumers complaining of receiving inflated power bills for the period of March to May, a PIL was filed before the Bombay High Court Wednesday seeking relief against excessive bills during the lockdown period.
The PIL, filed by a Mumbai-based businessman, seeks directions to the state government and electricity providing companies to reduce electricity bill for month of June and to formulate strategy to avoid exorbitant electricity bills in future in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ravindra M Desai, a 49-year-old businessman from Mulund filed a plea through advocate Vishal Saxena against state ministry of Energy along with electricity providers such as Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), Adani Electricity, Tata Power among others.
Desai claimed his electricity bill for the month of June was 10 times more than the average monthly usage, adding that he has already incurred losses due to the lockdown.
The PIL stated, “If the government and electricity providers fail to provide reliefs to the customers, it will lead to unrest amongst citizens and could result in deterioration of the health of people as majority of citizens are at home abiding the Covid-19 lockdown protocols laid down by the state government.”
It added, “While citizens are not even allowed to go beyond the radius of 2 km except valid reasons, this will also harm businesses of citizens and being deprived of livelihood, difficulty in paying electricity bills.
Desai sought directions from the Court to the state government to reduce electricity bill for the month of June and to formulate a strategy to avoid excess electricity bills in future in view of pandemic, until the situation is back to normal.
The plea also sought a stay in the payment of electricity bill for the month of June and to waive off late payment charges, pending a hearing into the matter. The HC is likely to hear the plea soon in due course.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, state energy minister Nitin Raut announced through a press conference that consumers who pay their June bill in a lump sum will get a discount of 2 % and if MSEDCL consumers pay even 1/3rd of their bill, supply will not be disconnected and they will have the facility to pay their bills in three installments.
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