Not convinced by reply, MERC asks Adani for more answers

Dec 06, 2018, 11:46 IST | Dharmendra Jore

Has until today evening to respond; AEML had been given 24 hours on Tuesday to explain the inflated bills

Not convinced by reply, MERC asks Adani for more answers
Avinash Abhyankar, MNS leader

Unconvinced by Adani Electricity Mumbai Ltd's distribution company's (AEML-D) explanation on inflated power bills, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) and has asked the company for more details by Thursday. Taking cognisance of mid-day's extensive reportage about excessive billing for suburban power supply, MERC had, on Tuesday, asked for an explanation within 24 hours. AEML-D confirmed MERC's fresh directive and said it would submit the additional data.

MERC Chairman Anand Kulkarni told mid-day on Wednesday that the commission wanted to know the reasons behind the abnormal hike in power bills of some 30 lakh suburban consumers, who were previously catered to by Reliance. It had sold the business to Adani some months ago.

'Want reasons for hike'
Kulkarni said it was pertinent to know whether the meter readings were faulty or if there was any systemic error at the Adani office. "Our primary concern is to know the reasons and avoid recurrence of such abnormalities in future. We received information from them [Adani] on Wednesday, but as the data was insufficient, we asked for clarity and additional data," said Kulkarni, adding that the commission would formally explain its say to the consumers and the company in a day or two.

MERC's show-cause notice
On Tuesday, MERC had asked for facts of the matter and the steps taken by AEML-D to remedy the situation. MERC said in its notice that average tariff increase approved in its order for year 2018-19 was around 0.24%, to be applicable from September 1, 2018. The show cause notice said, "However, from the media reports, it is observed that large sections of AEML-D's consumers are continuously agitating against unduly excessive electricity bills received by them recently.

"The commission has taken serious note of these reports highlighting consumer grievances with respect to surge in their electricity bills which is not commensurate with the marginal hike in the tariff approved by the commission," it said. When asked about city Congress president Sanjay Nirupam's allegation that MERC was hand-in-glove with AEML-D, and the nexus should be probed, Kulkarni refused to comment.

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