Mumbaikars to pay for BEST losses through high electricity bills?

People wait for the Union Budget, hoping that the cost of necessities and luxuries don't make their lives difficult. But then there one more thing, the monthly electricity bills that could spell out to be worrisome for Mumbaikars.

The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) have traded an option with the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC); either their 10-lakh consumers would pay heavily or the Undertaking's losses can be distributed amongst those residing in eastern and western suburbs right upto Mulund and Dahisar.

The BEST has kept forward their annual revenue requirement (ARR) meant for electricity consumers in which they propose to recover a huge Rs 1384 crore annually for the next four years. The way of recovery is through the component called Transport division loss recovered (TDLR) applicable in electricity bills.

Initially, this was supposed to end from April 2016; but then the BEST has brought it back, that will surely burn pockets of Mumbaikars. "We want TDLR to be shared by everyone who falls under the purview of BMC," said Jagdish Patil, General Manager, BEST Undertaking. Sources in the BEST said that neither the Maharashtra government nor the BMC, which is the parent organisation, is helping the Undertaking out.

Currently, the BEST is charging TDLR, which is 0.55 paise per unit to Rs 1.85 per unit, from the 10 lakh consumers. The BEST has stated that if the TDLR is simply borne by the 10 lakh consumers in next four years between 2016-17 to 2019-20, then this component would increase from Rs 3.01 per unit to Rs 7.04 per unit on an average, which could take average monthly bills of people above Rs 1000 or so even with minimum use of electricity.

On the other hand, if it divided among the 26 lakh consumers of Reliance Infra, 5 lakh plus consumers of Tata Power and thousands more getting supply from MSEDCL along with the BEST; then its affect would be less and mere Rs 1.16 per unit. The TDLR is presently being charged until March 31 and is divided among the consumers since 2012. "The BEST has recovered Rs 2300 crore through TDLR already," said Ravi Raja, BEST Committee member. This is a component that mainly covers the transport losses to the tune of Rs 900 crore that would touch Rs 1300 crore in next four years; of BEST from running their bus fleet.

At present, the number of kilometers run by a single bus has dropped from 214 kms to 183 kms. The number of passengers too has come down to mere 33 lakh from the earlier 42 lakh

Box

TDLR proposed by BEST

Units 2016-17 (in Rs.) 2017-18 (in Rs.) 2018-19 (in Rs.) 2019-20 (in Rs.)
0-100  1.10  1.65  2.06  2.57
101-300   2.06  3.09  3.86  4.81
301-500   2.88  4.32  5.40  6.73
500>   3.70  5.55  6.94  8.65

TDLR at present for BEST

Units Current (in Rs.)
0-100 0.55
101-300 1.03
301-500 1.44
500> 1.85


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