The state government is mulling granting funds to cash-strapped Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) to help it tide over its losses from the transport wing.
The government also told the legislative council that it may intervene, if the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) allows BEST to levy additional charges in the form of transport deficit and loss recovery (TDLR) on power consumers in Mumbai.
State energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said BEST is facing a TDLR loss of Rs1,689 crore, which is rising every year.
To cope with the situation, BEST has proposed various options such as levying additional TDLR charges on Tata Power, Reliance and Mahavitaran consumers in the city, levying transport charges on property tax by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), levying additional transport tax on industrial power consumers and financial aid from the state government.
“Of them, the proposal to levy additional TDLR charges is pending with the MERC. The government will intervene if the authority gives its go-ahead on the proposal, as the government is against levying an additional burden on power consumers in Mumbai,” Bawankule told in the Upper House.
On giving grant to BEST, the energy minister said the government is discussing the matter with the BMC. He said the government along with the BMC, BEST and Mahadiscom will hold a meeting to discuss the proposal of protecting consumers from the increased tariff burden.
Meanwhile, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told the council the power tariff in Vidarbha, Marathwada, backward areas of north Maharashtra and western Maharashtra will be on a par with the power tariff of neighbouring states.
The power tariff in the state is higher compared to the neighbouring states such as Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh that are also close to Vidarbha and Marathwada regions. Consequently, industries prefer the neighbouring states instead of coming to Vidarbha and Marathwada. “Taking this into consideration, the state government has decided to bring the power tariff in Vidarbha, Marathwada, backward areas of north Maharashtra and western Maharashtra on a par with them. The losses to the power distribution company will be borne by the state government,” CM Fadnavis said.
He informed the proposal in this regard has been prepared by the energy minister and will be implemented once cleared by the cabinet.