Power supply in two Thane suburbs to be handled by private firm

MSEDCL suffers loss of 296-crore in Thane district, mostly from the two suburbs
The MSEDCL said tenders for privatisation are in the final stage and in the next three months the power distribution to these two suburbs will be through private agency(Praful Gangurde/Hindustan Times File)
The MSEDCL said tenders for privatisation are in the final stage and in the next three months the power distribution to these two suburbs will be through private agency(Praful Gangurde/Hindustan Times File)
Updated on Nov 25, 2018 12:34 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By

Power thefts in Kalwa and Mumbra lead to 50% loss of revenue for the power company. Alarmed by this, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has sped up the privatisation process of electric distribution to these areas.

The MSEDCL said tenders for privatisation are in the final stage and in the next three months the power distribution to these two suburbs will be through private agency.

The losses in Mumbra are the highest in Thane district. The total default amount in Thane district is 296 crore —Mumbra has arrears of 73 crore and Kalwa 20 crore.

The power company claimed that privatisation will help curb the losses.

Vishwas Pathak, director of MSEDCL, holding company, gave a report card of the past four years. Pathak said, “The losses in Mumbra are between 47% and 50%. More than half the consumers here do not pay electricity bills. Thus, we have decided to privatise the electricity bill distribution in Mumbra and Kalwa. The tenders are in final stage and the privatisation process will be completed in three months.”

He said privatisation of distribution will help improve the recovery of power bills, thus decreasing the losses.

He added that once the losses reduce in a few years, the power company might take over these two suburbs again.

He added, “The same pattern is adopted in Bhiwandi where the power losses amounted to more than 50%. Only 50% consumers in Bhiwandi paid for power and we suffered heavy losses. The distribution franchise was handed over to Torrent, a private company. The losses are merely 18%.”

There are more than 1.5 lakh consumers in Kalwa and Mumbra.

Read more: Monks in Thane generate power from biogas

Shrikant Jaltare, regional director of Konkan region of MSEDCL said, “Privatisation will not affect the cost of power supplied. However, the MSEDCL does not have the manpower required for recovery on such a huge amount. The private company can help improve this collection.”

Pathak said the loss across the state amounts to 30,000 crore out, of which, losses in the agricultural sector is 25,000 crore while the non-agricultural urban areas recorded 5,000-crore loss.

Sunil Udawant, 37, resident of Kalwa, said, “We pay our bills regularly, however at times have to face load-shedding or power outage due to illegal connections. We only want uninterrupted power supply with no increase in rates.”

Faulty meters

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd had started installing new meters across the state in 2015.

In 2016, more than 16 lakh meters were reported to be faulty, which the company had to replace. In Thane, around 3.87 lakh faulty meters had to be replaced. At present, the company is also facing shortage of meters. While there is a demand for more than 41,000 meters in the district, the company has only 28,000.

The two companies which had supplied faulty meters were debarred and a suit was also filed against them.

Bill correction complaints

Since April this year, the MSEDCL has received more than 850 complaints of bill correction. Most people had complaints of less or exorbitant bill amounts and had to go to the MSEDCL office to get the bill corrected. The MSEDCL has now made the bill correction facility online. Consumers can log on to the MSEDCL website and complain about inflated bill. The complaint will be forwarded to the sub-division who will have to address the complaint in seven days.

Boost to e-vehicles

After the Thane Municipal Corporation’s move to promote e-vehicles, the MSEDCL will follow suit. The power company has decided to set up six power charging stations across Thane in the next couple of years. The stations will be fast DC charging station, which will charge the vehicles in 45 minutes to an hour. MSEDCL will also set up four charging stations in Navi Mumbai, four in Panvel and seven along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.

On Thursday, civic chief Sanjeev Jaiswal announced to set up 100 charging stations in the city and also support the launch of e-vehicles to encourage the use of battery operated vehicles.

Pathak, said, “We have decided to set up 500 e-vehicle charging station across the state in the coming years. The first phase will include 50 charging stations, of which, two stations are set up in Pune and Nagpur. Thane will have six charging stations.”

The consumers will have to pay 6 per unit as tariff for charging, while a discount of 1.50 will be given to vehicles which charge from 10pm to 7am. He added, “Consumers can book these charging points through mobile phones using their MSEDCL consumer code. The charges will be included in their power bills. This will bring about transparency.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    I am a special correspondent with Hindustan Times and also the chief of bureau for Thane. I have worked in Thane for over a decade, covering social, civic, infrastructural, political and cultural issues.

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