Pune: Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar informed elected representatives on Thursday (July 30) that the state government has prepared a proposal to waive off electricity charges up to first 100 units and further discounts of 25, 50 and 75 per cent for slabs up to 500 units of electricity consumption. This proposal will soon be sent for cabinet approval, Pawar said.
Soon after the review meeting of COVID-19 situation was over on Thursday, all members of legislative assembly (MLA) of Pune city met Pawar and briefed him about the public anger due to inflated power bills being issued to citizens during and after the lockdown period.
Pawar responded to their queries saying, “A proposal has been prepared to waive off the electricity charges up to 100 units and give further discounts in the charges for slabs of 101 to 300 and 301 to 500 units of electricity consumption by the consumers. This proposal will soon be approved by the cabinet and it will address all issues being faced by the consumers.”
Earlier, Power Minister Nitin Raut had also announced that a waiver will be given to citizens soon, but no official action was taken on the government level. The opposition parties had also raised concerns over alleged arbitrary meter readings being taken by Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) agency and subsequent inflated power bills being issued to consumers.
The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) had approved a rate hike in March and based on the new rates applicable from April, MSEDCL issued three months (lockdown period) power bills to its consumers. MERC had approved 41 paise for the slab of 0 to 100 units, 48 paise per unit for the slab of 101 to 300 units and the wheeling charge by 17 paise per unit.
Majority of the consumers in the state consume electricity between 100 to 300 units and they have suffered the most due to this rate hike. Due to lockdown and inability to take actual meter readings in April and May month, the consumers had received power bills on an average consumption basis and did not realise the effect of rate hike during the lockdown period.