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Consumer panelists say new power cut protocol is illegal, pull up MERC

MERC has agreed in principle with Mahavitaran on new methodology by which power cuts will be in proportion to losses in respective areas.

mumbai Updated: May 24, 2012 01:11 IST
Dharmendra Jore
Dharmendra Jore
Hindustan Times

Consumer representatives and Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) are at loggerheads over power cuts in the state company’s distribution areas.

The representatives — the Thane-Belapur Industries Association, Prayas Energy Group and Maharashtra Power Consumers Association — have refused to work on a committee that MERC proposed to form to study the new methodology of power cuts being implemented by Mahavitaran.

The three representatives, who are authorised to take part in MERC’s regulatory work, have strongly opposed MERC’s in-principle agreement with Mahavitaran’s new power cut protocol based on distribution and commercial losses. Under the scheme, which started early this month, the company enforces power cuts in proportion to losses incurred in the respective areas.

The consumer representatives have told MERC that the new system be scrapped on grounds that it is illegal. However, the commission did not rule in favour of the consumers at a recent public hearing.

Ashok Pendse, who represents Thane-Belapur Industries Association, told HT on Wednesday that the three representatives did not approve of the MERC’s silence. “We want it (MERC) to speak out and give its ruling in the matter. We are of the opinion that the committee will be illegal because the system which we are supposed to study is illegal. Such committees are of no use.” MERC officials were unavailable for comment.

Mahavitaran has contended that it acted in accordance with regulations because consumers, who do not pay their monthly bills or steal power, were not entitled for the power supply at the cost of other consumers who pay their bills regularly.

However, Pendse argued that the commission needed to verify the other side as well. “We must know reasons other than defaults (by consumers) in such serious cases of commercial and distribution losses.

First Published: May 24, 2012 01:10 IST