IANS

Congress seeks probe against Maharashtra power watchdog

Mumbai, Dec 5 (IANS) The Mumbai Congress has urged Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao to order a judicial probe into the working of Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) for its alleged nexus with power distributors.

In a letter to Rao, city Congress President Sanjay Nirupam said the MERC and Adani Electricity Mumbai Ltd (AEML) are “colluding to hoodwink and loot the people of Mumbai”.

“Instead of regulating and creating a healthy competition in the power sector in the state, and protecting consumers’ interests, the MERC is promoting the interests of the power distribution companies. Recently, MERC has allowed AEML to increase power tariffs in Mumbai suburbs, causing a huge financial burden on the ordinary consumers,” said Nirupam.

The letter came in the wake of a series of protests held by the Congress last week to condemn what they termed steep hikes in power rates imposed by the AEML in the past few months.

Nirupam pointed out that justifying the 50-100 per cent hikes, the AEML claimed it was due to increase in power consumption by the consumer, “which later turned out to be a lie”.

“Yesterday (Tuesday), the MERC has sent a notice to AEML that it had permitted only a ‘marginal hike’, exposing the power distributor’s lie,” Nirupam added.

He urged the Governor to instruct the MERC to send a notice immediately to AEML ordering it to reduce tariffs and refund the exorbitant amounts billed to the consumers for September, October and November.

The AEML took over the Mumbai suburban power distribution network from Reliance Energy in August, and in September, the MERC permitted a tariff hike.

The AEML claimed that the previous owners had applied for a tariff revision in December 2017 which was cleared by the MERC, but now the regulator has sent a notice to the distritbutor (AEML) seeking a reply withing 24 hours.

–IANS
qn/nir

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