MMOPL pleads for lower electricity tariffs claiming Mumbai Metro is an 'essential service'
Many people are unhappy with their inflated electricity bills, but at a Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC)-held public hearing yesterday, there was a surprise consumer airing its grievances the Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL). MMOPL runs the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro rail corridor.
The company officials pleaded for lower electricity tariffs and a separate tariff structure, as they are an ‘essential service’. MERC asked MMOPL representative Debashish Mohanty to prove that they are an essential service. The MERC bench, headed by Chairperson Chandra Iyengar, asked the transport body to legally verify whether they fall under the essential services category.
The MMOPL had said that until now they have ferried 7 crore passengers on their route. But MERC officials added that just because people travel, it doesn’t mean that they can be termed as ‘essential services’ and that there are other public transport bodies which do not fall under this category.
“We pay R40 crore annually for power bills,” said Mohanty. The metro rail runs on 25,000 volts for which there is a separate tariff, which is also applicable to the railways as well. As far as the power supply to stations and other areas is concerned, a separate tariff structure is applicable as railways also carry freight besides passengers.
Reliance Infrastructure has proposed a tariff of R8.91 per unit that will be charged for Railways in 2015-16. The MMOPL has also indicated at a new tariff structure for Metro rail on the format in Delhi. The MMOPL representative also claimed that they have exported around 25% of electricity till February, through regenerative braking inside their coaches.
The MERC bench has asked for details like legal ownership of MMOPL and a statement on the Delhi format of power supply to the metro rail. Both MMOPL and RInfra are wholly under the Anil Ambani group.
“Mumbai Metro’s electricity consumption is unique in many aspects. MMOPL therefore has requested for a separate tariff category. We shall provide the documents as advised by MERC for the same,” said an MMOPL official.