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Home News Power Sector News Mumbai - MERC likely to stay power tariff hike by Rinfra

Mumbai - MERC likely to stay power tariff hike by Rinfra

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MumbaiFollowing protests from various political parties, the state government has decided to get the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) to order Reliance Infrastructure (Rinfra-D) to roll back the increase in power tariffs for consumers in Mumbai suburban district. Sources said Textile Minister and guardian minister for Mumbai's suburbs Nasim Khan, Revenue Minister Narayan Rane and Finance Minister Sunil Tatkare had taken up the issue at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, claiming that the raise in tariffs would adversely affect consumers, many of whom are slumdwellers and belong to the lower and middle class families. They said Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had, after discussions, asked for directives to be issued to MERC.

"This (tariff hike) is related to the poor and middle classes; hence the government must intervene," said a senior Cabinet minister, citing that the disparity among tariffs of Rinfra-D and those of BEST and Tata Power Company (TPC) was adversely affecting the 28-lakh consumer base of Rinfra-D.

Minister of State for Energy Vijay Vadettiwar said directives would be issued under Section 108 of the Electricity Act, 2003, to stay the rise in tariffs. He said a meeting of officials from the government, MERC and RInfra-D would be held in this regard later.

This is the second time that the government is invoking provisions of the Act in this regard. It had, after an outcry from consumers and political parties, directed the commission to investigate the affairs of Rinfra-D and MERC on July 15, 2009, besides staying the tariff hike for consumer categories like LT residential, LT commercial, LT industry below 20 kW, LT advertisements and hoardings, LT temporary and HT industry.

The MERC had also appointed Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) to investigate the affairs of Rinfra-D and scrutinise the tariff petitions, records of proceedings and data submitted to the MERC by Rinfra-D, among others. The ASCI report had given a clean chit to the power distribution utility. The MERC had, last month, vacated the stay on the tariff hike for consumers covered under these categories. The move led to protests from the Congress, Shiv Sena and the BJP, which took out protest marches to the office of the distribution utility.

Source- Indian Express


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