Mumbai: Decision on inflated power bills, 100 units of free electricity by Diwali

Updated: 03 November, 2020 07:24 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

There was, however, no clarity on whether the state's free electricity SOP will be extended to Mumbai consumers

Consumers had got inflated power bills for three months of summer during the lockdown
Consumers had got inflated power bills for three months of summer during the lockdown

Energy Minister Dr Nitin Raut on Monday said a much-delayed decision of giving 100 units of free electricity and resolving inflated bills during the pandemic will be taken by Diwali. He also said the tariff will be reduced further and Mumbai's increasing requirement catered to without making the city suffer an October 12 like power outage.

However, he did not clarify whether the free electricity will also be extended to the consumers of private and municipal companies in Mumbai. He said the decision was also expected in inflated power bills the consumers received for three months of summer during the lockdown.

Waiting for CM's clearance

"The files have been moved to the finance department where Ajit Dada Pawar (minister in-charge) will take decision. We are also waiting for a clearance from the chief minister. We can do it once we get a call from Matoshree (the CM's residence)," said Dr Raut, during his visit to Tata Power Company's generation station at Trombay.

Energy Minister Dr Nitin Raut said a decision was also expected in inflated power bills the consumers received for three months of summer during the COVID-19 lockdown
Energy Minister Dr Nitin Raut said a decision was also expected in inflated power bills the consumers received for three months of summer during the COVID-19 lockdown

The minister has been meeting all stakeholders in the wake of an unprecedented power outage last month. He has appointed an enquiry committee to probe the reasons.

Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) and Union Power Ministry have also asked their expert teams to investigate the matter and recommend measures to prevent any recurrence. He said the state government will submit its report to MERC.

Recently, MNS president Raj Thackeray met governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari seeking his direction to be given to the government for reducing electricity tariff. Some politicians also moved the MERC over inflated bills for the lockdown period. The MERC asked them to approach the consumer grievance redressal system in their respective companies.

Dr Nitin Raut, energy minister
Dr Nitin Raut, energy minister

More power for Mumbai

Raut said the energy department has set up a deadline of 2030 to make Mumbai glitch-free in terms of distribution, transmission and generation of power. "The city should get an affordable and quality 24x7 power supply when its demand increases to 5,000 MW by 2030," he said.

He said two idle units at Tata Power's Trombay station could be used to generate affordable power and add to the city's embedded production when half of the city's supply is carried from outside. According to information available, Tata Power's expansion plan is mired in the permission delays and opposition from the green and political activists.

"Tata's station is an asset for the city. These units can run on gas, coal and oil. But we have to have low production costs in order to reduce the consumers' monthly bills," said Raut.

Need robust islanding

About the islanding system that saves the city from outage even while the rest of the state goes off grid, the minister said the system needs to be upgraded further in accordance with the city's growing consumption.

"Islanding system started in 1981 and it was upgraded later to make it technologically advanced. But in the future, we need to make it robust and much advanced," he said.

He said the state transmission unit would be made more efficient and if needed, the city's transmission could be changed from 'radical system' to the 'ring line system' when any high voltage corridor develops a snag (like on October 12). Raut said he is trying to have a coordinated effort between State Load Despatch Centre, state's transmission company Mahatransco, Tata Power Company and Adani Energy which he will visit next.

100
No. of units govt says it will not charge for

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First Published: 03 November, 2020 07:24 IST

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