The ongoing electricity crisis seems to have affected not only individuals but also government bodies. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has written to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) asking for a change in the tariff category applied to it by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) from 'commercial' to a concessional one when it comes to the hospitals it runs.
The reason PMC officials give for making the request is the high monthly expenditure incurred by the civic body on running its hospitals. They say they are worried as the expenditure is now bound to increase because of the proposed tariff hike.
A PMC official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said MSEDCL applies commercial tariff rates for the civic body despite the absence of any commercial activity in its hospitals. "We treat people from the economically weaker sections since they cannot afford costly private medical treatment. Both the MSEDCL and the MERC should recognise the larger public good behind our appeal and change the tariff rates," said the official.
The letter (copy available with MiD-DAY) was written by PMC Superintending Engineer Srinivas Kandul from the Electrical Department to MERC, with a copy marked to MSEDCL Pune Zone Chief Engineer Siddharth Nagtilak.
Kandul confirmed the development and said that he would surely appreciate it if MERC and MSEDCL heed the appeal.
"We will also request them to take a bi-monthly meter reading for all streetlights since calculating the bill for all the streetlights in the city often leads to computing problems and is also technically difficult," he said. Nagtilak of MSEDCL said such decisions were purely the prerogative of the MERC and the MSEDCL only followed its directives.
"They should have raised the issue in the recent public hearing in the Council Hall. The MERC maintains systematic records of all statements and requests made in public hearings and it would have surely highlighted the problems," he said.