The commission is not satisfied with Adani’s explanation for the excessive bills.
Mumbai: The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has set up a two-member fact finding committee to look into the excessive electricity bills of consumers of Adani Electricity Mumbai Ltd (AEML).
The commission is not satisfied with Adani’s explanation for the excessive bills. It has also asked Adani to keep checks from December 10 to January 10 on all bills. If the committee comes across any case of excess billing, the same would be refunded to consumers with an interest of 9.25 per cent. Speaking to mediapersons at MERC’s office at the World Trade Centre, MERC chairman Anand Kulkarni on Friday said that the AEML told the commission that the increase in electricity bills for November was due to prolonged high temperature and high humidity levels in the October. Overall, 15 per cent more electricity units were consumed as compared to the previous month.
Mr. Kulkarani said the billing of consumers was done on an average basis as the billing employees were on strike during the initial period from August 27 to September 1, when the ownership of power distribution passed from Reliance Infra to AEML. As metre readings were not available, around 3.53 lakhs bills of residential consumers were issued on average consumption basis. However, the assessed consumption was adjusted based on actual meter readings for the month of October.
He said that Ajit Kumar Jain, former principal secretary of state chief minister and Vijay Sonawane, former MERC member would form the two-member committee.
The committee will review the total number of consumers who have been affected by the difference in the meter reading and the average electricity bills. Also, the committee will suggest measures to ensure that excessive bills are not issued to the consumers again.
A member of MERC said the committee would look into all the bills of the 2017-18 financial year and of November this year to figure out the actual lapses in the calculation of bills of the consumer.
The committee will also look at the bills of MESB, BEST, TATA and ADML.
Replying to a query, Mukesh Khullar, MERC member, said that the past dues have been passed on to the consumers, hence a detailed investigation is needed in the case. The committee will probe into it, he added. More than one lakh consumers have been affected due to excessive billing.
Meanwhile, an AEML spokesperson said, “AEML welcomes the press statement from the MERC taking cognisance of the facts provided by AEML that contributed to higher billing for a section of customers (1.10 lakh out of 27 lakh) in October 2018, primarily due to higher consumption and shifting of slabs. Metered consumption was higher for change of scenario from September to October 2018, which had a similar pattern in the previous year (2017) as well. AEML is committed to its customers and will continue to follow all guidelines and tariff norms laid down by the MERC. We remain completely open and transparent to the fact-finding committee appointed by MERC. ”