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Maharashtra: Raut says power tariff cut will benefit 93 per cent consumers

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The Economic Times
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Energy minister Nitin Raut has promised to reduce power tariff soon. “This will benefit 93% consumers. A proposal in this regard will be submitted to the cabinet. After that, MSEDCL will submit a petition in Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC),” the minister told the media.

A meeting between Raut and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar was held on Wednesday on this issue. Raut pointed out the problems being faced by consumers due to high summer bills amid Covid-19 lockdown. Pawar agreed to his proposal in principle.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders Kirit Somaiya and Niranjan Daokhare have filed a petition in MERC seeking scrutiny of ‘inflated’ summer bills. They have also raised other demands before the Commission.

A MSEDCL official told TOI Raut was yet to instruct the company to prepare a proposal. “It will take some time to draft it. The minister will have to tell us how much reduction he wants to grant to each category. Accordingly, we will calculate the loss that we will incur. The government will have to pay us an equivalent amount of subsidy. MERC will not approve the petition unless we are compensated,” he said.

The monsoon session of state legislature will be held from September 7. The state government can seek money for subsidy through supplementary demands.

This is not the first time that government is planning to subsidize power tariff. In January 2014, the then chief minister Prithviraj Chavhan had provided Rs 9,000 crore subsidy to MSEDCL to not increase power tariff till 2014 October assembly elections. The Devendra Fadnavis government gave Rs 1,000 crore to the discom every year for providing subsidized power to industries in Vidarbha and Marathwada.

Somaiya and Daokhare in their petition have stated MSEDCL had sent inflated bills to consumers in the past two months. Despite promises by the energy minister, many consumers had been disconnected for non-payment of bills. Consumers should be given six months for payment of summer bills, they pleaded.

The two have urged MERC to issue directions to MSEDCL to immediately stop disconnections. Consumers should be given free electricity up to 100 units and subsidized electricity up to 300 units, they said.

Author: Chetanya Mehra
Industry Term: electricity tariffs rebate