The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) and Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) have drawn flak from consumers, citizens’ organisations and political parties over hefty power bills during the lockdown.
Though state Energy Minister Nitin Raut has said consumers will get 2 per cent rebate in their June bills, this has been dismissed by consumer organisations.
MERC, the regulatory body, on Tuesday directed distribution companies like MSEDCL and others to allow consumers to pay their bills in three installments. MERC, however, found nothing wrong with the bills issued by MSEDCL. “The bills were raised on actual meter readings for summer months when consumption is normally higher,” MERC said in a statement.
Now, the Maharashtra Vidyut Urja Sena has written a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, urging him to bring down the “exorbitant bills” given to consumers in June. The Sena has also demanded that the government scrap the power tariff hike, and make it applicable only from April 2021.
Meanwhile, State Energy Minister Nitin Raut, while announcing 2 per cent concession in power bills, on Tuesday said MSEDCL should hold camps in various places in the state to redress consumer grievances. “There is confusion among consumers over power bills. Distribution companies should immediately redress the grievances and remove confusion among consumers,” he directed, adding that consumers should also verify their bills by visiting mahadiscom website.
However, state BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhaye said,”… It is difficult to imagine why they decided to issue huge bills and hike rates when each one of us is fighting a hard battle. We are demanding immediate relief to consumers in power bills. The minister’s statement only reflects the confusion in the government ranks.”
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the government has taken note of the consumer protests. “The government will soon step in to resolve the issue,” he said.
Denying that bills were exorbitant, MSEDCL spokesperson Nishikant Raut said,”The June bills have been raised on actual meter readings. They are of summer months, April and May. During this period, power consumption is generally high and therefore the bills are of higher amounts. During the lockdown period, nominal bills were raised. But that amount has been deducted from June bill after considering the actual readings of the three months,”
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