Mumbai: Aarey tribal faced with nearly 1,500 per cent increase in electricity bill
Hiked bill will eat into a fifth of senior citizen's pension; Adani claims irregularity was in past consumption data, not in their billing
After years of paying electricity bills of R50-80 for his spartan tribal home in Aarey Colony, Chandu Jadhav, 66, received a rude shock this week: Adani slapped him with a bill for R1,250, which is nearly 1,500% higher than any of his past bills. Now the physically challenged senior citizen has no idea how to manage his monthly expenses, as Adani's bill will gobble up more than a fifth of his modest monthly pension.
Chandu is among some 30 lakh suburban consumers who have experienced an abnormal hike in power bills ever since their power supplier changed from Reliance Energy to Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML) in September. The tribal resident of Vanicha Pada in Aarey Colony, Goregaon East, is a retired Class IV employee of the state water supply department, and earns a monthly pension of R5,500. This is the only source of income on which he supports his wife and three children. But since the family received the electricity bill from Adani on December 3, they have been worried about how they will manage their expenses for the month.
So far, the family's bill had varied between R50 and R80. The Adani bill for R1,250 is 1,462% higher, and has completely thrown off the family. Not to mention, it will eat into a fifth of their monthly income. "My pension is already low and we struggle to meet the family's expenses. If we pay this bill, this month will be really bad. I have registered a compliant with the Dindoshi office of the power company," said Chandu. His spartan home barely consumes any power; even his lights are solar-powered. The only electrical appliances he owns are a fridge, television set and fans.
However, according to Adani, the irregularity seems to be in his past consumption data, and not their billing. "We are investigating this case thoroughly, as the consumption pattern has pendulated from an unbelievable consumption of 1 to 4 units per month from March 2018 up to June 2018, and thereafter coming to a consumption of an average of 100-plus units in the last two months," said an AEML spokesperson. But Chandu is not alone in his plight. mid-day has earlier reported that several suburban citizens, whether they live in high-rises or slums, have complained that Adani has billed them 15 to 20 per cent more than usual.
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