Private utility Reliance Energy’s “negative attitude” is holding up shifting to uniform power tariff rates in Mumbai for consumers using up to 100 units a month, Maharashtra Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule today said.
Tata Power, civic-run BEST and Government-owned Mahavitaran are all ready to reduce tariffs and shift to uniform structure. Only Reliance Energy is not in favour of the move, arguing it needs Rs 1,000 crore to offset its losses (likely to be caused by uniform tariff structure), he said.
All four companies serve power needs of Mumbai and its suburbs.
Reliance Energy’s ‘negative attitude’ is holding up the plan for moving to uniform power tariff rate in the metropolis, he told reporters at Mantralaya here.
He said “Reliance Energy has been asked to reduce its administrative costs. The Government wants reduced power tariff rates for consumers using less than 100 units a month.”
Bawankule said the Government has already announced it will conduct an audit of power distribution companies (discoms).
“The Government will conduct an audit of the tariff proposals submitted by Reliance Energy in the last 10 years to Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC).”
The Minister said tariff proposals of the other three power supplying utilities are pending before the regulator.
He said the Government will wait for the MERC verdict and if need arises, it will exercise special powers vested in it to issue orders for reduction in power tariff rates for those consuming less than 100 units.
Meanwhile, a prolonged dry spell in the State has led Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to direct the Energy department to ensure 12-hour power supply during day time to operate agricultural pumps till November.
The direction was given to save kharif crops from wilting.
Disclosing this, Bawankule said the Government has moved the MERC over the issue and the decision will incur an additional cost of about Rs 600 crore.
“Due to the Jal Yukt Shivar (Government’s water conservation programme), there is now water in village ponds and rivers. However, farmers cannot lift water through pumps due to non-supply of electricity during day time.”
He said personnel from the Maharashtra State Security Corporation will be roped in to curb power thefts.
Bawankule said the Government is in the process of supplying solar power through agriculture feeders to run pumps. A pilot project is underway at Sangamner taluka in Ahmednagar district.