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Home News Power Sector News MERC classifies schools along with commercial customers

MERC classifies schools along with commercial customers

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SchoolsAccording to MERC order, all educational institutions will now come in the LT II (low tension II) category. This means they have been included in the commercial category. The move has irked most institutions and school managements are worried that the mounting bills will force them to raise students' fees again. Ashok Pendse, a power expert and consumer representative appointed by Merc, said the tariff order was prepared last year but is being implemented now. "Earlier, there was a lot of confusion on classification of categories," Pendse said. "There were several categories and there was a lot of ambiguity. It was, therefore, decided to have only three --- residential, non-residential, and industrial."

Pendse said educational institutions cannot be included in the residential category as their consumption is very high. "If they are not charged," he said, "who will pay for their extra consumption? Everybody wants to be charged less, which is not possible, unless the government subsidises the rates for them."

Take Guru Harkishan High School, which used to get a monthly power bill of Rs15,000. On implementation of the new tariff plan, the school in Santa Cruz is getting a bill of almost Rs50,000. And this is not the only school receiving a bill that is more than three times its earlier outgo.

"We have been included in the commercial category," complained Rekha Vijaykar, principal, Guru Harkishan High School. "How can a school, a non-profit establishment, be considered commercial? Though we have made the payment under protest, we have also given them a written complaint. If this continues, schools will have to charge their students higher fees."

Asoke Basak, chief executive officer of the Shri Vile Parle Kelavani Mandal (SVKM), which runs around 17 institutions, including schools and colleges, said, "Including educational institutions in the commercial category is not fair, when the hike is very steep.

All aided and unaided institutions are run by charitable trusts, which are restricted by the law. The burden will definitely be passed on to students."

Source - DNA

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