Power activist Sandeep Ohri was pleasantly surprised when Tata Power Company delivered a new electricity metre at his Kandivli apartment on Tuesday — he plans to replace his existing Reliance connection with a Tata connection soon.
Lakhs of Mumbai’s power consumers like Ohri are looking to switch from expensive Reliance to relatively cheaper Tata power after Reliance, a couple of months ago, announced a price hike that consumers have called unreasonable.
After widespread protests, the state asked regulators to stall the hike and advised consumers to switch to a cheaper vendor — in this case Tata. “Officials from Tata Power visited me on Tuesday and offered to change my existing meter. I have asked them to change it in the presence of Reliance officials,” Ohri told Hindustan Times.
Tata Power teams are also visiting housing societies that have applied for the switch.
Tata will use Reliance’s existing infrastructure (lines and transformers) to supply power to these users, who will pay what are called carting or wheeling charges for that piggybacking facility.
Tata boss Ratan Tata, at this year’s annual general meeting, said his company would match supply to demand: the company has opened 19 new registration centres in areas of Mumbai where Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport and Reliance/Mahavitaran now supply power.
Jagrut Nagrik Manch (JNM), a non-governmental organisation that launched the Do-the-Switch campaign and sent over 20,000 applications to Tata Power in July, has suggested the company take up a pilot project in Andheri (W).
“We’re happy that Tata has finally got working. We expect them to take a minimum of 30 days to complete every individual connection,” said JNM chief convener Praful Vora.
“We want competition, we want more distributors in the city so consumers will benefit.”
Some residents have said Reliance changed meters where allegations of over-metering were reported. “Reliance technicians had come to my building as well but I didn’t let them change the meter,” said Vora.
Tata Power’s spokesperson refused comment because senior company officials connected to the matter where out of town. Reliance officials were unavailable for comment.