In­flated bills: MERC ap­points com­mit­tee

Adani Elec­tric­ity had at­trib­uted higher bills to a change in cli­mate

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS - KSE­NIA KONDRATIEVA

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.

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