Reliance told not to hike power tariff | india | Hindustan Times
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Reliance told not to hike power tariff

Round One has gone to the consumer. The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) on Wednesday stayed the power tariff hike imposed by Reliance Infrastructure on consumers in the city’s suburbs in June.

india Updated: Jul 16, 2009 01:45 IST
HT Political Bureau

Round One has gone to the consumer.

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) on Wednesday stayed the power tariff hike imposed by Reliance Infrastructure on consumers in the city’s suburbs in June.

While directing Reliance not to bill consumers at new rates “till further orders”, the order issued by MERC chairman VP Raja and two of its members said the Commission would also conduct a probe into Reliance’s billing method, power purchase expenses, transactions and capital expenditure schemes.

The 7.5 per cent hike had impacted domestic consumers who use between 300 and 500 units a month as it almost doubled their bills. Reliance caters to nearly 26 lakh consumers, most of whom are residential.

Reliance had also reduced the tariff for some commercial and industrial users in an attempt at ‘rationalisation’. The revision was negated by MERC.

After consumers and political parties protested the hike that was approved by the Commission, the state government asked MERC to review it on June 15.

Energy Minister Sunil Tatkare said the directives issued to MERC were not politically motivated. “The government genuinely felt that the tariff hike was unjust and that the interests of consumers should be protected.”

He said there were prima facie irregularities in Reliance’s submissions to the power regulatory body, on the basis of which MERC had cleared the hike in June.

Asked if the state would conduct an independent inquiry into the matter, Tatkare said, “We will certainly probe if we find MERC’s report lacking.”

Reliance officials declined comment.