With illumination one of the most critical embellishments of the 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi festivities, a recent hike in electricity tariff will be a severe jolt for the over thousand Ganesh pandals in the city.
From September 1, the two power companies Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) and Reliance Infrastructure (R Infra) revised power tariffs. (BEST supplies power to the island city, while R Infra caters to the eastern and western suburbs)
As per the new tariff, approved by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), BEST will now charge Rs 12.33 per unit for ‘temporary supply’, which until August was Rs 10.98 per unit. R Infra has revised its rate to Rs 14.53 per unit against the earlier Rs 13.
Power experts claim that during festivals, power consumption is at its highest, and hence the hike. BEST officials claim several big mandals overdo the putting up of lights and sound show, so it is essential to levy a higher charge.
“Nearly, 1,200 Ganesh mandals were supplied electricity last year. Although we are yet to arrive at an exact number, we expect a surge in mandals this year,” said A Tamboli, senior spokesperson, BEST.
With nearly every mandal ensuring that the streets leading up to the pandal are adorned with elaborate lights, the hike will pinch the pockets of the cash-strapped mandals, already reeling under a credit crunch due to lack of sponsors this year. Ganesh mandals have also been complaining about the cash crunch due to the ban on hoardings by the civic body.
BEST’s new rate, effective from September 1, for ‘temporary power’ supply
New rate charged by Reliance Infrastructure