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MSEDCL begins serving notices to defaulters; Fadnavis and Shetti oppose move

Despite the opposition parties and farmers’ outfits threatening a backlash, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) has released figures of dues of 2359
By Siddharth Gadkari, Pune
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 02:39 PM IST

Despite the opposition parties and farmers’ outfits threatening a backlash, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) has released figures of dues of 2359.13 crore in the western Maharashtra region while sending notices to consumers to pay bills or face disconnections.

According to MSEDCL, there are a total of 30,92,370 defaulters in western Maharashtra. Of the total consumer base, there are 8.33 lakh defaulters in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation area alone.

The MSEDCL has appealed consumers to pay bills as early as possible failing which there will be disconnections of power supply as per electricity act 2003. At present, the MSEDCL has served notices as per the act to industrial and commercial defaulters.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) strongly objected to the notices saying the government is changing its stand. The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) had earlier promised to waive off inflated power bills sent during lockdown though it later changed its stand and decided not to offer any incentive.

“The government had earlier promised to waive off the bill but instead of doing that it has served notices to people. We will not let this happen,” said SSS leader Raju Shetti, who is part of MVA.

Leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis also accused the MVA government of double standards.

“Now, that the gram panchayat polls are over, the government has instructed to disconnect the power supply. During the lockdown period, MSEDCL gave hefty bills to consumers and now they have decided to disconnect electrical connections. The MSEDCL has given a concession to builders and developers in bills and now they are pressuring the common man to pay bills,” said Fadnavis in Mumbai.

According to MSEDCL officials, the arrears amount has been increased from the last three months in western Maharashtra region that includes Pune, Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Solapur districts. In the last three months from October to December-2020, there was an addition of around 15 lakh defaulters taking the outstanding amount to 693 crore. Now, it has reached 2,059 crore in the western Maharashtra region.

In Pune district, there are a total of 13, 86,000 defaulters. MSEDCL has calculated an amount of 682 crore as arrears. The defaulters comprise of those in residential, industrial, commercial and public services, some have-not paid electricity bills in pre-Covid and post-Covid period (till date).

Anukush Nale, regional director of MSEDCL of Western Maharashtra region said, the MSEDCL is facing a financial crunch.

“We are appealing defaulters to pay electricity bills. At present, we are appealing to residential consumers. However, we have started sending notices to industrial and commercial consumers. We are not taking any action on residential consumers right now. However, if they fail to pay bills despite the repeated appeal, we have to take action as per the electricity act and it includes disconnection.”

Box-1

Pune District – Total consumers- around 36 lakh

Types of consumers No of consumers Amount ( in cr)

Residential– 11, 56.750- 635

Commercial - 1, 94,287- 295.55

Industrial 27,970 150.35

Public services 6995 15.60

Total 13, 86,000 1,096.90

Box-2

In PMC and PCMC area – Total consumers- appox 25 lakh

Types of consumers No of consumers Amount ( in cr)

Residential– 6, 80,330 400.25

Commercial - 1, 35,000 206.00

Industrial 16,220 70.55

Public services 14, 2200 5.18

Total 8, 33,000 682.00

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