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Consumers and energy experts on Thursday opposed the power tariff hike proposed by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd to mop up Rs 17,500 crore and said the utility must change the business model to improve the quality of service.
About 300 consumers and experts from Pune and nearby districts had submitted their suggestions and objections in writing. The points were raised during a public hearing organized by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission here.
City-based Prayas energy group said increasing the fixed charges by the distribution company would not fetch the desired result, but would push big consumers towards the options of open access and captive power.
Prayas member Ashwini Chitnis said, “The power utility is in a crisis because it could not generate the desired revenue and ensure adequate sales because of large-scale sales migration by big industries towards open access or setting up their own solar power plants”.”
She said, the step of effecting two- or three-fold increase in the fixed cost was unnecessary and would trigger a lot of hardships for smaller consumers because their bills will would get inflated. “This will be a disincentive for being energy efficient and may tempt them to malpractices like meter tampering,” Chitnis said.
The Sajag Nagrik Manch opposed the proposal and submitted signatures of 3,000 consumers. “The tariff is increasing but the quality of service is deteriorating. Meter readings are not taken on time. Similar is the situation with the delivery of bills,” its founder, Vivek Velankar, said.
Distribution company representatives defended their proposal saying that various incentives and cross-subsidies were affecting its revenue.
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