Mumbai

MERC directs power discoms to make billing transparent

Nitin Raut

Nitin Raut  

Consumers can opt to pay bills in three instalments, says Power Minister

Following reports of domestic power consumers receiving inflated bills this month, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has directed power companies to display transparency in its billing and resolve complaints.

Shock and dismay

Many consumers in Maharashtra including Bollywood actors had taken to Twitter to express shock over unexpectedly high electricity bills. “Taking stock of the rising number of consumer complaints related to exorbitant electricity bills, MERC has directed power companies to show transparency in its billing procedures and redress the consumer complaints immediately,” Mr. Thackeray said.

State Power Minister Nitin Raut said consumers can opt to pay their bills in three instalments and those paying the entire bill amount will be given a 2% discount. Mr. Raut also directed Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (Mahadiscom) to start a public awareness campaign.

He said, “Mahadiscom could not take meter readings on the spot due to the lockdown. As a result, bills for April and May were given based on the average bill in the previous months.”

‘Spike in consumption’

Mr. Raut said the inflated bills could be because of an increase in power consumption during the summer and more people working from home. “All family members are indoors for 24 hours. Naturally, it will lead to an increased use of electricity in homes,” he said.

Mr. Raut also admitted that several people have complained of exorbitant bills despite being away in their home towns. “The government will take real time meter readings in such cases and if the complaint is found to be true, the extra amount paid will be deducted from future bills,” he said.

On Monday, the MERC directed power distribution companies to look into the complaints. BEST, Tata Power, Adani Electricity supply power in Mumbai, while Mahadiscom provides electricity to the rest of the State.

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday held a protest outside the office of Adani power demanding a reduction in power bills.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 9:31:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/merc-directs-power-discoms-to-make-billing-transparent/article31958016.ece

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