The Maharashtra government’s plan to have a uniform power tariff in Mumbai and its suburbs may get delayed further because Reliance Energy, that supplies electricity mainly to the suburbs, has opposed the proposal. The firm objected to it citing financial loss to the tune of Rs 150 crore as the reason.
The move was opposed even though the state government had proposed a uniform tariff only for low-end residential consumers who use power not more than 100 units per month. Earlier, the government planned on a uniform tariff for consumers who used less than 300 units per month. Other power distribution firms — BEST, Tata and Mahadiscom (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited) agreed to a uniformity in power tariff.
Chandrashekhar Bawankule, state energy minister said only Reliance was opposing the proposal citing financial loss. ``The government is still trying to persuade the firm. I feel if Reliance reduces its administrative expenses the proposal will be practical for it as well,” Bawankule argued.
“Tariff determination is the prerogative of the MERC. RInfra’s views on URT (Uniform Retail Tariff) are consistent with that of MERC. We are not against implementation of uniform tariff but at the same time, we want to protect the interest of all the consumers,” a Reliance Energy spokesperson told HT in response to a mail.
Till date, the government held three meeting on the issue but failed to persuade the power firm. It is now considering intervening and issuing directives to the firms to start implementation of a uniform tariff, if the new power tariffs proposed by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) get approved. The state had sent the uniform tariff plan proposal to MERC in March this year.
The energy minister said if the firm (Reliance) does not agree to the proposal then they will intervene with the directives for implementation of uniform tariff as the state government possesses special powers for intervention in public interest.
The government is also firm on conducting financial audit for power firms — Reliance and Tata — to verify their claims, on the basis of which the power tariff was hiked by them in the last ten years, the energy minister reiterated.
“The proposal is with the law and judiciary department and is expected to get clearance in the coming week. We are also ready for a legal fight,” Bawankule said in view of the Delhi government’s decision for CAG audit of power distribution firms that was later scrapped by the Delhi High Court.