BEST’s island city power tariff could shoot up further
A day after it sought to increase cost of power supply in the island city for the next four years to mitigate distribution and collection shortfall, as well as to recover losses in its transport business, BEST undertaking on Friday demanded that it be allowed to also recover transport losses between 2005 and 2009. Dharmendra Jore reports.mumbai Updated: Oct 27, 2012 01:32 IST
A day after it sought to increase cost of power supply in the island city for the next four years to mitigate distribution and collection shortfall, as well as to recover losses in its transport business, the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking on Friday demanded that it be allowed to also recover transport losses between 2005 and 2009.
This means that 10 lakh island city consumers would end up paying hefty amount every month to make up for transport losses of Rs. 3,138 crore — Rs. 1,948 crore that BEST asked to be recovered in its current five-year business plan, and Rs1,190 crore for the previous five years. On Thursday, BEST predicted the average supply cost will increase till 2015 before it can be brought down to the 2012 level.
In an application moved before the power regulator, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), BEST justified the demand saying that the Supreme Court has facilitated this recovery. The apex court had allowed it because the undertaking had been doing both the electricity and transport businesses before the Electricity Act, 2003, came into existence. BEST has already started recovering transport losses every month.
MERC will conduct a public hearing on the new petition on November 29. Consumers can argue their case before the commission and ask for some relief, but they won’t be able to change their supplier soon, because BEST has got the switchover to Tata Power stalled in the island city through a legal case in the Supreme Court.
“Till the case is decided, BEST will enjoy monopoly in the island city,” said a senior official from the undertaking who did not wish to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The existing average supply cost of the company is Rs8.91 a unit. However, tariffs are directly proportionate to monthly consumption implying that not all consumer categories are charged this rate.
As per the company’s prediction, the average cost in 2013 will be Rs10.85 a unit followed by Rs11.39 a unit in 2014. In 2015 the cost is expected to come down to Rs9.98 a unit and to Rs8.81 a unit in 2016. These rates exclude government duties, transport losses and regulatory charges.