Aurangabad, Feb 13:
An air of disappointment has prevailed after the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) launched a drive to recover the power dues. Adding to the woes, the MSEDCL is also disconnecting the power supply of consumers without any prior notice,it is alleged.
Earlier, the energy minister announced giving concession in payment of average bills posted against energy consumed during the lockdown period. In the hope of getting concession, the majority of consumers had not paid their regular monthly bills. However, they are now burdened with paying the bills, which include interest as well as a penalty. Now the threat of disconnecting power supply is making the consumers fearful and panicked.
Following the spread of Coronavirus in the city since March 2020, the MSEDCL served average bills to consumers against energy consumed in April and May. Serving of bills through meter-reading got started in June, but the consumers claimed that the bills are hefty compared to their regular bills.
According to consumers representative in Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC), Hemant Kapadiya said," Under Section 56 of Electricity Act 2003, it is mandatory to serve 15 days notice to electricity consumer before disconnecting his power supply. Besides, the consumer could also pay average bills, if he claims that the bills posted by MSEDCL are hefty. There is a provision in the Act. The present recovery drive, however, has started without issuing notices. If we assume that the bill posted by MSEDCL is correct then also it is a burden as it is of the collective period. Hence the amount is huge. The MSEDCL should give instalment facility in the payment of bills (posted without meter reading)."
Meanwhile, the MSEDCL officials claim that the consumers are being alerted about the outstanding bills through the SMS. Instead of issuing notice to each consumer, the power entity got permission to intimate through SMS. The appeals are made repeatedly. We had also offered 2 per cent concession to consumers settling the power bills either at one time or paying the bills of 3-4 months within due dates. We also offered the facility of paying the bills in three equal instalments.