Maharashtra mulls uniform electricity tariff for Mumbai and suburbs

With the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) going to polls next year, BJP-led state government has started exploring possibility to levy "uniform tariff" for the middle class power consumers residing in the island city and its suburbs.

Besides asking the Energy department to prepare a report on feasibility of common tariff for those who consume 0-500 units per month, the government has also appointed a private consultant to study electricity charges in these areas.

"I know the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) is the authority on finalising the tariff and may not accept the proposal of a uniform tariff for Mumbai but the government is in favour of it and will try to do it for the benefit of the middle class. They will get a big relief this
way," Energy, New and Renewable Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule has said.

The power charges vary greatly in the island city and its suburbs as different companies supply electricity to residents.

In the island city, BEST (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking)--the civic transport and electricity provider public body--has the maximum number of consumers while in both eastern and western suburbs, Tata and Maharashtra Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) supply electricity.

However, former Energy Minister Dilip Walse-Patil said MERC would not agree on the uniform tariff.

"There is no way MERC will agree to uniform tariff. It can only be possible if the government would support this initiative through the exchequer," the NCP leader said.

Bawankule said though the government was aware of the difficulty in implementing such measure, it will at least try to provide relief to the people consuming upto 500 units of electricity. He said a report has been called from Energy department.

In January, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had undertaken a 'padyatra' (foot march) from suburban Bandra to Dharavi in the megapolis against the electricity tariff hike.

The government recently set aside Rs 1,000 crore to provide electricity at a subsidised rate to industries in Vidarbha and Marathwada, to promote industries in the relatively less-developed regions.

Bawankule had stated in the Legislative Assembly last week said that the proposal to provide power at subsidised rate to industries in Vidarbha and Marathwada will be tabled before the Cabinet soon.

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