• Stop charging power users for transport losses, SC tells BEST

    In a respite to more than 10 lakh south Mumbai electricity consumers of BEST, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked BEST to stop collecting transport division loss revenue (TDLR) from power consumers through its monthly power bills.

    After giving the interim order, the court transferred the case to three-judge bench to decide whether the TDLR collected by BEST over the last four years should be returned to consumers. According to Ahar, an association of Indian hotels and restaurants, BEST has collected around Rs 900 crore per year as TDLR – about Rs 3,600 crore over the last four years – from its electricity consumers to make up for the losses in bus transport business.

    “According to the Supreme Court, BEST shall not recover transport loss from electricity consumers after one month,” said Ahar president Adarsh Shetty. Ahar’s Guruprasad Shetty and Kamalakar Shenoy have been fighting this battle against BEST in the Supreme Court for four years.

    Shetty and BEST Officials said they would receive a detailed copy of the order only on Wednesday. BEST general manager Jagdish Patil said he would be able to comment only after he receives the judgment copy.

    State industries minister Subhash Desai along with other members of the BEST committee had also met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis seeking his intervention to get TDLR surcharge scrapped. A BEST committee member, who was part of the delegation, said the TDLR accounted for nearly 15-16% of the power bills.

    According to Shetty, the Appellate authorities opposed the move to impose TDLR. “BEST apparently took advantage of the SC endorsement that it was a local body and can run transport and electricity businesses. It misinterpreted the SC’s remarks to earn TDLR from consumers. Recently BEST was supposed to revise tariff and decide on ending TDLR but it is still recovering it,” he said. Patrick Onwuasor Jersey

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