EVEN AS the BJP has spoken out against “excessive” power bills received by consumers, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) has been flooded with complaints seeking a review of bills.
Consumers have continued to pour into MSEDCL offices across the state, seeking correction in their massive billing amounts. The MSEDCL has 2.7 crore consumers statewide. Of these, two crore are domestic users, and remaining are industrial and agri-consumers. The power utility has 16 zones and 44 circles.
In Pune district, the MSEDCL has 29 lakh consumers. In the district, there are two zones: Pune and Baramati. Baramati zone handles six talukas and districts of Satara and Solapur, while Pune zone looks after two civic bodies of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, three Cantonment boards and remaining talukas of Pune district.
The MSEDCL has set up a grievance cell and help desk at all offices. Officials said they were getting over 1,000 complaints per day at all grievance cells. “People are primarily coming up with complaints of excessive billing. But when they are explained how billing was arrived at, they seem to be satisfied. There was confusion among consumers, but now it has eased,” said a senior MSEDCL official.
“There are also other complaints, such as incorrect billing or excessive billing due to faulty meter. These problems are being addressed,” officials said.
Nishikant Raut, MSEDCL spokesperson, said besides grievance cell and help desks, the power utility was conducting webinars, camps, and had set up WhatsApp groups address people’s issues.
“WhatsApp groups have been set up at a local level, where representatives of housing societies are available. We are making presentations and explaining to them the system of billing,” he said.
Sharad Chavan, general secretary, Maharashtra Vidyut Urja Karmachari Sena, claimed that the MSEDCL help desk was not helpful to the cause. “Lakhs hit by the lockdown are making rounds of MSEDCL offices seeking correction in billing amount. But the MSEDCL is turning them away by telling them that there is nothing wrong with the bill, and that they will have to pay up,” he said.
The MSEDCL said consumers were also making a beeline to their offices for activating a three-month EMI for their June bill.
“They can deduct one-third of the month’s bill and pay at the nearest MSEDCL office. For instalments, they need not go all the way to MSEDCL offices,” officials said. The MSEDCL said 2 per cent concession in bills announced by state Energy Minister will be adjusted in their next bill. The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has also directed the power utility not to disconnect supply over non-payment.
In a statement, the MSEDCL said, “If you have received high consumption bills, please visit the link http://www.billcal.mahadiscom.in/consumerbill/ and check your bill details.”
Keshav Upadhaye, state spokesperson for the BJP, said the party had demanded a waiver of up to 300 units during the lockdown period for domestic consumers, claiming that the MSEDCL and the state government had not acted upon it. “Despite protests across the state and our party’s demand for a waiver, the MSEDCL and the state government remain unconcerned,” he said.
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