Mumbai: High power bill issue to be referred to MERC
State Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Principal Secretary (energy) Arvind Singh decide to approach the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission to look into it
The Maharashtra government seems to be moving swiftly on suburban Mumbai citizens' grievances of receiving allegedly inflated bills from Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML). Two days after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered an inquiry into the high power bills, State Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Principal Secretary (energy) Arvind Singh have decided to refer the issue to the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC). BJP Mumbai president Ashish Shelar on Saturday met Fadnavis and got his approval for the inquiry into the sudden surge in high electricity bills. Pursuing the inquiry order, Shelar, on Monday, had a meeting with Singh and a telephonic conversation with Bawankule over the complaints from citizens against AEML.
'Will approach MERC'
"The minister and Singh have assured they will refer the issue to MERC," Shelar said. mid-day has been consistently reporting about citizens' grievances over the bills. After mid-day's reports, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Congress, and even the ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) jumped into the ongoing power tussle. According to Shelar, the issue has been referred on two grounds – one, a rise in tariff, and two, average bills, instead of actual usage by the consumer. "It is mandatory for the power distribution company to send bills according to actual usage of electricity. But I have cases to prove that bills have been sent without taking meter readings," Shelar added. Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam has also raised serious questions about the functioning of the MERC, demanding a judicial enquiry against it. Accusing MERC of working hand-in-glove with the power distribution companies, Nirupam said, "MERC's duty is to protect the interest of the consumers, but it has been working towards protecting the interest of the power distribution companies."
There was no response from MERC. An AEML spokesperson said, "We have not yet received any document, therefore will be unable to comment on the same."
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