Residents of Thane, Navi Mumbai and the eastern suburbs may soon have to pay more for power, as the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited has proposed a 25-38% hike for domestic users, even while suggesting the tariff be reduced for industrial and commercial users.
In a bid to make the state an attractive investment option for industries, MSEDCL proposed a tariff cut for industrial and commercial users by 5% and 3% respectively. The proposal, however, will first have to be approved by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, which will conduct a public hearing from March 18 to April 10 across the state.
MSEDCL has also proposed increasing usage categories to three – from the existing two – for consumers of up to 300 units. Most domestic consumers use between 100 and 300 units.
The bracket for the first category has been brought down from 100 units to 75. The existing rate of Rs4.16 a unit for usage between 125 and 300 units has been proposed to be hiked to Rs5.55 to Rs7.10 a unit. The per unit rate for consumers using 301 to 500 units will also go up because of changes in computation methods.
“The total hike proposed is Rs4,717 crore for the 2015-16 fiscal. Although we have proposed restructuring categories, this will not affect lower income groups, as of our 1.60 crore domestic consumers, 1.25 crore use less than 125 units,” said an MSEDCL official. The rate for consumers below poverty line will not change, the official said.
For industrial and commercial users, the proposed tariff cut is 5% and 3% on the existing rate of Rs8.50 and Rs12.82 a unit respectively. This translates to a drop of just 53 and 42 paise respectively. There are 12,500 large industrial consumers and three lakh small industrial units registered with MSEDCL across the state.
Industrial and commercial organisations have been demanding a cut in power rates, as rates in neighbouring states are up to Rs2 lesser.
“Whatever MSEDCL has proposed is not sufficient, as it serves no purpose. Our rates are around 25% higher than that of our neighbouring states. Our ultimate goal is to at least bring the tariff on par. This cannot happen overnight, but the state has to consider it seriously,” said Subhash Desai, state industries minister.