Citizens, MNS demand discount on power billsUpdated: Jul 03, 2020 00:37 IST
In a meeting with state energy minister Nitin Raut on Thursday, citizen representatives from Mumbai and Thane along with political leaders from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) demanded discounts on power bills, quick redressal on complaints and transparency in the billing system. Citizens across Maharashtra have expressed grief over exorbitant bills issued by utility firms in June 2020.
MNS also submitted a letter demanding a 50% discount on bills as well as direction to not disconnect power supply in case of non-payment. The party also asked the minister to undertake a common meeting with all utility firms to address the issues.
Rahul Daga, resident and chairman of Dosti Lily in Wadala who attended the meeting in Mahavitaran office at Fort, said, “Almost every other household has got bills ranging between ₹25,000 to ₹35,000. Yesterday, a household complained of getting a ₹64,000 bill. We need more transparency and quick redressal on these complaints.”
Nandakumar Chile from MNS said the minister was positive on the demands. “There are cases in the city where people whose houses have been vacant since two months receiving exorbitant bills. The minister accepted that there have been some errors and said it would be inspected soon.”
Following thousands of complaints from citizens, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) on Monday has issued directives to utility firms to allow consumers to pay their bills in three easy monthly instalments and not disconnect power until disputes have been resolved. Despite several attempts, Raut was not available for a comment.
Meanwhile, a Mumbai-based NGO, Watchdog Foundation, on Thursday also asked citizens to switch off their electrical appliances as a mark of protest against the bills. The foundation asked citizens to switch off the appliances between 8pm and 8.30pm on Thursday night.
Taapsee Pannu meets Adani officials
Actor Taapsee Pannu, who took to Twitter to complain about the high bill, said she had an hour-long meeting with representatives from the Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML) on Thursday to understand the issue. Pannu tweeted, “So after an hour long meeting, crazy amount of numbers n calculations floating around, realised the ‘approximate’ reading wasn’t really THAT approximate. In fact far from it (sic).” She also said, “Glad @Adani_Elec_Mum had the patience to clarify every detail and hoping in the future we all will be better prepared and given a better ‘approximate’ jerk to deal with the reality later.”
Energy minister seeks ₹10,000 crore for Maha discom
State energy minister Nitin Raut on Thursday wrote a letter to the Central government seeking immediate assistance of ₹10,000 crore for the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL).
Raut said the discom is facing a financial crisis owing to the lockdown as most industries and businesses were shut. Around 60% of MSEDCL’s revenue is earned via industrial and commercial sectors.
“The adverse effects of lockdown are expected to continue for the next few months. The low revenue will make it difficult to carry out day-to-day operations of MSEDCL,” a statement released by Raut stated.
The minister further said the state’s distribution arm has a total debt of ₹38,282 crore as of March 2020.