• Maharashtra consumers cry hoarse over power billing pattern of pvt companies

    It is not just “inefficient handling” of supply by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) that the consumers are complaining about. Various consumer organisations have come forward to file petitions with the Maharashtra Energy Regulatory Commission (MERC), accusuing the state power utility as well as private power producers of “pickpocketing” .

    Atul Pawar, an industrialist who submitted a petition to MERC during its hearing here, said when the MSEDCL orders closing of generation plants of the state power generation utility, the Maharashtra State Electricity Power Generation Company Limited under the Merit Order Dispatch (MOD) mechanism evolved by the energy regulator, it forces companies with higher power costs to go off the grid as the demand drops.

    He said. “The Bhusawal Thermal Power Station (BTPS) units with 500 MW capacity each producing 24 million units collectively aday have been shut down since July 3. But power is being bought from private players at higher rates.”

    Incidentally, power supply from a private company is being bought at a rate higher than the units of BTPS providing power at Rs 2.88 per unit that have been put on ‘reserve shut down (RSD)’ – they are off the grid and have stopped producing power.

    “The MOD mechanism has been designed in a way that consumers get power at lower costs. Yet, the system is not being implemented in totality and this is largely because of grey areas in its implementation,” a superintending engineer with the Maharashtra State Electricity Power Generation Company Limited said on the condition of anonymity.

    Consumers were also weary of the “compensatory tariff” issue which is currently being decided upon by the Supreme Court. The compensatory tariff does not exist at present. A private energy producer had applied to the energy regulator in Maharashtra for compensation of additional expenses incurred by his company for production following the rise in cost price of raw material. It was not considered while preparing the power purchase agreement with the power utility.

    “The MERC had said that MSEDCL ‘may’ allow it and it is currently being battled in the court of law. While the matter is sub-judice, the rise in compensatory tariff sought was Rs 1.04 per unit of power over and above the agreed rate between the private company and MSEDCL. This is going to be tough for the consumers – especially the industrial and commercial consumers who are charged accordingly,” said the statement of the Maharashtra State Power Employees’, Engineers’ and Officers’ Joint Action Committee. “Both the issues are important and need a sound decision. This has the potential of saving the consumers from being exploited by the private players,” said Suyog Zute, general secretary, Graduates Engineers’ Association. Art Monk Womens Jersey

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