Power to the people

The monthly electricity bills are part of every household’s list of payments. The rising temperatures, use of air-conditioners, fans and other equipment only lead to increasing power usage, subsequently seen in bills. But there comes a time once a year when the common man can raise his voice against mounting electricity tariffs presented by the power companies. But sometimes the issue is diluted as just another day’s event and many people don’t even come to know about it.

This is what happened on March 16, wherein the first of several public hearings to discuss the proposed tariff structure of Reliance Infrastructure for 2015-16, was held at the World Trade Centre in Cuffe Parade by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC). Sadly, a handful of people that comprised power company representatives, power experts, government officials and the general public, that too senior citizens, attended it. They had come after seeing a small advertisement in newspapers while the younger generation, who actually can make a bigger difference, were busy with routine work.

The political parties have also conveniently forgotten electricity fare hike issues. On March 16 at the public hearing, the quasi judicial body of MERC asked official representatives of people like MPs and MLAs to present their points before the common man. Not a single representative was present. Prior to the elections in the state, there were MPs and MLAs from different political parties, including the winning BJP, and Congress who boasted tackling electricity issues as a prime concern, and some also staged a hunger strike.

There is a need to be more vocal about such hearings via social media and word of mouth, as these are issues of simply gaining political mileage. Larger the gathering, the better the chances of ideas and grouses that the MERC will have to listen to. After all, they approve the electricity tariffs based on suggestions and objections received from the common man. Take a day out of your busy schedule; your participation might just help lakhs of people in saving money.

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