The role of the Madhya Pradesh Energy Regulatory Commission (MPERC) was criticised during the public hearing held here on Friday.
Consumers, who raised objections over power tariff hike, talked to the electricity ombudsman and even reminded it of its role. Ravidutt Singh, 55, a farmer from Rewa, said the power commission was expected to work in the interests of consumers, but unfortunately, it has failed to do so.
“With the new dispensation (under the new chairman), we now expect that the commission would secure interests of the ordinary citizen, especially, the poor and those living in rural areas,” Singh said. “Farmers are being charged more for power. Companies are charging excessively, giving bills of more than 100 units to all just to bridge revenue gap. We are charged for six months in advance, and the bills have more than doubled. Still, discoms take subsidy from the government,” he added. Another farmer, Jai Chandel, who came from Betul, said those who pay bills on time were forced to pay more for those who stole power.
Meanwhile, the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday took up the cause of the power consumers and said there was no reason to hike power rates in the state. Leaders of both the parties appeared before the MPERC and voiced their concerns. Congress leaders said the power distribution companies’ proposals were nothing but a bundle of lies and are anti-people.
The party said the purpose of splitting the electricity board into companies was that there would be healthy competition among the discoms which would ensure better services and more efficiency. But what happened is now worse than the era when the board functioned in the state, they said. State Congress chief spokesperson KK Mishra said, “When more power is consumed year after year, how the loss is going up?” Mishra said, “The only focus of the power companies is on the tariff hike, nothing else.”
AAP leader Alok Agarwal also spoke at length during the hearing. He said the companies were not analysing the situation and have no interest in paying capacity of different sections of the society, because there is no such mention of it in annual revenue requirement. “Owing to the recent hailstorm, crops got damaged and the farmers’ paying capacity has gone down, so the power tariff should be brought down,” he said.