Reeling under power tariff hikes of about Rs11,000 crore in the past two years, consumer groups are now up in arms against the state power distribution company, Mahavitaran, for demanding another hefty hike of Rs10,800 crore for this year, and power generator Mahagenco for failing to keep up with increasing demand.
Mahavitaran has proposed a massive 45% hike for domestic consumers who use up to 100 units per month. Over half of its consumers — 1.2 of two crore — are in this category. The distributor caters to the city’s eastern suburbs, Thane, Navi Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra.
The state power regulating authority, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (Merc), will start holding public hearings on Mahavitaran’s demand in cities across the state from July 11. Navi Mumbai will host the event on July 27 in which consumers can present their views.
Blaming inefficiency and lack of planning in state companies, the Maharashtra Power Consumers’ Association has asked Merc not to allow further tariff revision.
President of the association, Pratap Hogade, who represents consumers before Merc, told HT that the commission should adopt a strict approach to get Mahavitaran and Mahagenco to mend their ways. He said that Mahagenco is to blame for the tariff revision demand as it has failed to provide enough power to its sole buyer Mahavitaran. The distribution company has to buy power from expensive sources when Mahagenco does not meet increasing demand.
Hogade alleged that Mahavitaran would spend more in procuring power from Mahagenco because the generator has increased its cost by at least two rupees per unit, to Rs5.19, whereas some private companies are generating power at Rs3.50 per unit. “According to a report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), Mahagenco has suffered a loss of Rs6,852 crore between 2005 and 2010. This loss was recovered from the consumers. And since the company did not generate enough power, Mahavitaran had to spend Rs1,200 crore more last year.”
Hogade has also contested Mahavitaran’s claims on transmission and distribution losses of 15.77%. “The losses are much higher and the distributor is trying to hide its inefficiency. Merc must verify them.”
Officials said that the company will represent its case before the commission. Mahavitaran top officials are expected to clarify their stand to media on Tuesday.