Maharashtra plans to waive excess amount in inflated power bills
After the shock from inflated power bills, citizens are likely to get some relief in the coming months as the Maharashtra government is likely to provide waiver in electricity bills, officials said.
It plans to bear the financial burden of the surplus amount from the inflated bills for three months of the lockdown period - April, May and June.
According to the proposal moved by the state energy department, the waiver has been divided into three slabs based on power consumption by each household. It will bear the entire cost if usage is up to 100 units in excess to the usage of the corresponding period last year. For 101-300 units, it has proposed to waive off 75% of the excess amount and 50% if units in excess are up to 500, said, a senior official requesting anonymity.
The proposal which is likely to cost around ₹1,500 crore is likely to come up for discussion in the next cabinet meeting.
Officials said that giving a waiver means the amount is going to be adjusted in the next month’s bill as it is not possible for them to provide cash.
“The waiver will be implemented in the form of adjustment in the next power bill. The excess amount will be deducted from the current power bill and people will have to pay only the remaining amount,” an official said.
The proposal will be applicable for both private and government power distribution companies.
Consumers across the state have been complaining about inflated power bills for the past few months, but power distribution companies have maintained that there was no error on their part and that there has been an increase in power usage owing to summer and Covid-19-induced lockdown, with most people at home and the meter-reading suspended.
Following hue and cry on the issue, state energy minister Nitin Raut declared to provide relief to the people after holding several meetings. The state also approached Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) for the same.
According to energy department officials, they had two options — rebate up to a certain percentage in the existing power bill or reduce charges in the current slabs — that could be implemented to bring down consumers’ power bills from next month.