The ‘achhe din’ wish of the common men in Maharashtra seem to distance one step away with one more burden of hike in the form of tariff hike in the electricity bills this time. The Maharashtra state wide electricity provider MSEDCL (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited) or MahaVitaran has proposed a hike of about 15-20% in the tariff to recover their loss of Rs. 30,842 crore, quoted PTI through source. The proposal is up for a public hearing before the power regulator, MERC (Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission).
The company seeks the tariff hike of Rs. 34,000 crore on the electricity bills. The company has approximately 2.3 crore consumers and if the company is planning the figure of Rs. 34,000 crore, the company is wishing a hike of up to 22%, as per Mumbai Mirror. On the contrary, the other electricity providers in the state i.e. Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking, Tata Power and Reliance Energy have proposed a decrease in the electricity tariff for FY2018-19. In the proposal, 4 of the electricity providers of the state have submitted the revised MYT (Multi Year Tariff) plan to the power regulator, MERC.
In the petition filed by MahaVitaran, it has mentioned that it has decided to propose the hike for it’s survival. “MSEDCL has proposed a revision in fixed and energy charges for various categories in order to bridge the revenue gap. Such tariff revision is minimum requirement for it to meet the inflation as well as the additional costs that have arisen due to increase in various costs,” stated MSEDCL in the petition. The reason cited by the state utility is majorly to recover the additional costs which are beyond the control of the utility.
MERC has already heard the argument between the state utility and public representatives in Nagpur, Amravati and Pune. The hearing in Nashik, Aurangabad and Navi Mumbai is yet to take place soon. The next hearing in the matter is scheduled on August 16 in Navi Mumbai. The hearing is a process where the power regulator hears the argument between the state utility and public representatives including legislators from the state.
“Interestingly, none of the political parties or elected representatives from the opposition have registered their protest against such a steep hike. We, as consumer activists, have put forward our case before the MERC, but more weight is added to our gripe when elected representatives lend their voice. When Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was in the opposition, he regularly attended such hearings and put his views forward on tariff proposals,” said Ashok Pendse, the designated consumer representative with MERC, quoted Mumbai Mirror.
As per Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, any hike above 10% in the tariff is considered as a tariff shock. When a correspondent from Mumbai Mirror approached Shiv Sena, MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena), Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, they made a note of this abrupt hike and woke up to this Tariff Shock. “The proposed hike is unfair, and we will register our objections with the MERC,” said Sandeep Deshpande, MNS leader, to Mumbai Mirror. Radhakrishan Vikhe-Patil, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, also sounded disagreed with the steep hike proposal. He said that he will meet the party leaders to strategize their plan of action to tackle the issue.