Inflated bills: MERC appoints committee
Adani Electricity had attributed higher bills to a change in climate
Following the outburst of protest by residents of Mumbai suburbs over inflated bills for power supplied by Adani Electricity Mumbai Ltd (AEML) — formerly known as Reliance Energy, the Mumbai distribution business of Reliance Infrastructure which got acquired by Adani Group earlier this year — the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has appointed a fact-finding committee.
“The committee will consist of two people and will go to all other utilities operating in Mumbai, apart from Adani, to check whether they have also registered a surge in consumption during September, October and November,” a person aware of MERC plans told BusinessLine. “The committee has been given 3-4 months’ time to submit its report,” he added.
Over 1 lakh customers of AEML had reported hikes of at least 20 per cent in their billing amounts, MERC officials said in a press conference on Friday. MERC noted that as an intermediate measure, Adani Electricity should inspect inflated bills, address the issue and refund the amount if the bills has been found inflated.
While Adani Electricity, in its official communication earlier this month, said the increase in bills was caused by weather conditions as well as tariff hike by MERC in September, MERC has objected to the latter noting that the rise in billing amounts was not proportionate to the increase in tariffs.
MERC has approved revised tariffs for all discoms operating in the State, including government-owned Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co (MSEDC) and private players Tata Power and Adani Electricity, in its September order. According to consumer groups and analysts, an average tariff hike approved ranges from 2-8 per depending on the discoms and the consumer category.