If two major power distribution companies have their way, power bills for more than 35 lakh consumers are likely to rise marginally, come June. Reliance Energy (R Infra) and Mahavitaran have both proposed slight hikes in their tariffs, in the range of 2% to 10%, depending on how much power you consume.
In their annual tariff petitions filed before the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), Reliance Energy has proposed an average hike of 7% a unit, while Mahavitaran (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd) has proposed an average tariff hike of 5.5% across all user categories.
The MERC will now decide the tariff based on the petitions of the two power distribution companies. Reliance Energy distributes power to Mumbai’s suburbs and Mira-Bhayander, while state-owned Mahavitaran distributes to consumers in the state except most of Mumbai. Its distribution area also includes the eastern suburbs of Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.
Reliance Energy’s proposal will hit the smallest consumers the hardest. The proposed hike is the sharpest if you happen to consume 300 units of power each month. For homes that consume less than 100 units, the company has proposed to hike per unit cost by 10%, from Rs5.39 to Rs5.93. Similarly, for homes which consume between 100 and 300 units of power each month, the company has proposed to hike the unit cost by 8% from Rs7.69 to Rs8.31. The company supplies power to nearly 25 lakh consumers across the city alone, with another 4 lakh-odd consumers in Mira-Bhayander Municipal corporation area. Of the 25 lakh customers in Mumbai, an overwhelming majority consumes less than 300 units.
The only respite the company’s proposal offers is to Below the Poverty Line (BPL) consumers, where it has proposed to slash the power tariff per unit from Rs5.24 to Rs4.88, a dip of 7%. The company has also proposed an average hike of about 7% for low-tension commercial units across the city this year, while proposing a cut of 1% in the power tariff for high-tension commercial units. It has also proposed an average of 6% hike for its industrial users.
Overall, the company has proposed a 5.26% hike across categories this year.
Interestingly, in its petition, Reliance Energy has listed out the tariffs for the next four years, until 2020, and has proposed marginally increases every year. In its petition, the company has proposed an average hike for residential consumers at 5% in 2017-18, and 3% in both 2018-19 and in 2019-20. One of the reasons the company has stated for this hike is its move to bridge its cumulative revenue gap of Rs1,325 crore.
A public hearing will be held to discuss Reliance’s tariff on April 28.
Meanwhile, state power minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said the hike proposed by Mahavitaran was to help the company recover expected revenue loss of Rs34,108 crore during 2017-17 to 2019-20.