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Home News Power Sector News Mumbai residents to pay for Private power company's lethargy

Mumbai residents to pay for Private power company's lethargy

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MumbaiMumbaikars' ability to pay a high price for power has made power utilities complacent, and they are not taking any steps towards adding to their existing generation capacity. This has resulted in huge tariff hikes to consumers from both the island city and the suburbs.The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking, which supplies electricity to the island city, has proposed an average hike of 51.75%, with the lowest hike being 24.58% and the highest being 158.29%.

On the other hand, Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra), which supplies power to the suburbs, has proposed an average hike of 17%, with a 9% hike for residential and a 35% hike for commercial consumers.This hike, the utilities claim, is due to the expensive power purchased to ensure that Mumbaikars receive uninterrupted power. Another reason is the fuel adjustment charge(FAC) which is being recovered from consumers.

However, consumers blame the utilities for not introducing measures to reduce the shortage. The city has been facing a shortage since 2005. The deficit, which was earlier 100-150mw, has now risen to more than 600mw. Of this, BEST faces a deficit of over 100mw and the balance shortfall is experienced by consumers from the suburbs, who get electricity from RInfra.

"We expect efficient and economical power supply. While the efficiency is maintained by both utilities in the city (in terms of uninterrupted power), the tariffs are increasing by leaps and bounds. A 158% hike for residential consumers in the category of 0-100 units consumption per month is a bit too much," said an industry expert.

If industry sources are to be believed, both RInfra and BEST have not tied up for any new generation under the ultra mega power projects (UMPP). At least four UMPPs will be commissioned by 2011 by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in Sasan, Mundra, Auria and Krishnapatnam. Two of these plants are based on domestic coal, and the other two on imported coal. This means that the domestic coal generation will be priced at Rs1.17 per unit, whereas imported coal will cost around Rs2.50 per unit.

"This is increasing the per-unit rate of electricity procured, which is being transferred to consumers. Even if consumers are prepared to pay more for ensuring uninterrupted supply, we want a cap on the percentage hike to be borne each year," said Dinesh Mehta, a businessman from Colaba.

Public hearings to discuss power tariffs by Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport and RInfra are scheduled to be held on March 25 and 26.

Source- DNA

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