In a move that may deter consumers from getting electricity from a third party instead of state agencies by opting for open access, the Maharashtra government has decided to introduce a new Electricity Duty Act to include such users under its ambit and charge them electricity duties.
The state Cabinet on 28-06-2016 decided to repeal the Maharashtra State Electricity Duty Act, 1958, and replace it with Maharashtra State Electricity Duty Act, 2016, to include open access consumers and electricity traders, who were otherwise exempt from electricity duty. The state government expects to earn Rs 464 crore per year through this move.
A senior official from the state electricity department said, "The concept of open access was introduced only in 2003. The 1958 Act did not include open access consumers. Also, a lot of users have been opting for open access in the past few years, so we decided to charge them electricity duty. This would be separate from the open access charge that they have to pay to the state electricity distribution company."
Currently, 415 consumers across the state, mostly large industrial and commercial consumers, have opted for open access and are procuring power from private parties. High-end industrial and commercial consumers help the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company cross-subsidise electricity tariff for the state's low-end power users such as domestic consumers and farmers. A large number of consumers opting for open access thus hurts the balance.
Following the change, consumers opting for open access will have to pay electricity duty to the state as a percentage of their monthly bill as per their category.
Residential consumers will have to pay 16 per cent, commercial consumers will have to pay 21 per cent, while those in the industries category will have to pay 9.3 per cent. Cinema houses will be charged 19 per cent.
Source- Indian Express