From hinting at a ‘Diwali Bonus’ for troubled electricity consumers across the state to asking them to pay the full billed amount, the energy department has left many disappointed
Much to the surprise of many electricity consumers in Maharashtra, the energy minister, Nitin Raut, recently announced that the state government would not provide any relief to consumers who had been overwhelmed by inflated electricity bills. The bills, he said, will have to be paid to the full amount once found to be correct.
It comes as a big shock for many consumers who had been waiting for a ‘Diwali Bonanza’ promised by Raut, just two weeks ago.
Readers must be aware that there had been unrest about electricity bills in the state, especially in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai since the month of June, 2020, concerning ridiculously inflated bills. From common people to celebrities, everybody had been billed exorbitantly.
The electricity department had come up with their version of logical explanations for the justification of such bills. They had explained how during the covid-19 induced nationwide lockdown, the physical meter readings had to be discontinued and between March and May and that power companies had taken into account the average consumption of electricity during the months December, January and February.
They had further argued that power consumption had been on an all-time high during the initial months of the lockdown with everybody working from home and increased use of electrical appliances.
Many incentives like EMI payments and discounts on full payments, were then thrown in to encourage electricity consumers in Maharashtra to pay their bills. Many consumers did pay their bills to avail such offers.
However, there had been consumers who were not so convinced with the billing logic and justification and still continue to debate on incorrect meter readings.
The increased unrest in the state regarding inflated electricity bills had forced many into action and the state government, under the direction of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, took matter into their hands and promised resolution or some sort of substantial relaxation to the distraught consumers.
In the month of August, the Maharashtra government had come up with an announcement of a waiver in electricity bills, wherein they had planned to bear the entire burden of the inflated surplus amount for the month of April, May and June.
However, not many consumers were impressed by the proposal and continued debating.
Presently, there are still an overwhelming number of electricity consumers in Maharashtra who are yet to pay their inflated bills. These people had been waiting for a relief from the energy minister as he had hinted at one. Now it is clear that they will be getting none.
Apparently, the burden on the state exchequer seems to have mounted enormously and hence the efforts of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government to provide relief to the consumers have gone to waste.
As per the new announcement, electricity consumers in the state of Maharashtra will have to pay the full amount, without any relaxation on the inflated bills. However, the state government has allowed them to pay the electricity bills in three equated instalments or avail an incentive of 2% for making a one-time payment of the full amount.
The energy department also blames the Centre for not helping the state of Maharashtra with interest-free financial assistance. They had offered funds at an interest rate of 10.8%, which the state had to decline.
As of now, around 69% of the bills have been recovered and the electricity department is now requesting consumers to pay their bills as per the corrected meter readings.
The electricity department also argued that they had provided uninterrupted power supply during the lockdown. They further explained how Mahavitaran (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited) was also a consumer, as it bought electricity from other sources.
MSEDCL is said to be presently facing a debt of Rs. 69,000 crore and is not in any position to increase their debt.
The department urges consumers to make their payments as they had used electricity for the billed months and all needed corrections were also made recently.
It should be noted here that there won’t be any disconnections due to non-payment but consumers should avail the part payment facility and incentives and make their payments as soon as possible if their bills are found to be accurate.
Last Updated on November 20, 2020 by lp@admin