There was a sigh of relief for over 10 lakh consumers of BEST electricity when, the Supreme Court had given a judgment on 4 October, saying that Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) should stop collecting Transport Division Loss Revenue (TDLR) from its consumers. At least 10 lakh Mumbaikar’s, primarily from South and Central Mumbai will be benefitted from the ruling.
But now the relief is all gone, BEST has got a new way to get taxes from its consumers, in the form of wheeling taxes. Earnings from the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Trust’s (BEST) electricity supply arm were hit by 13 per cent in November in comparison to its earnings in October due to the removal of the Transport Deficit Loss Revenue (TDLR) surcharge on the bills of consumers. The earnings witnessed a decline of almost 16 per cent when compared to September.
As per the official figures received from BEST office, there was a 13 per cent decline in the earnings made by BEST’s electricity supply division in November, which was Rs 391.64 crore against Rs 452.39 crore in October. In September, the undertaking had earned Rs 463.90 crore from its power supply division.
The BEST had partially removed TDLR surcharge on electricity supply consumers in October for some cycles. In November, the removal of surcharge was completely applied to all power bills.
To make up for these losses BEST has introduced new tax called – ‘Wheeling Tax’, which will add almost 15 per cent more to the current electricity bills. The transport division of BEST was in loss, so to make up for these losses BEST had introduced TDLR taxes in electricity bills. Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has restricted to take TDLR taxes from consumers because of this BEST had been suffering loss.
The BEST suffering doesn’t end there reportedly, after giving an interim order, the court transferred the case to another bench to decide whether the TDLR collected by BEST over the last four years should be returned to consumers or not. So the BEST has now brought up wheeling tax, to make up for the losses which they are suffering in present and future too. The cable, which is necessary for electricity distribution and its maintenance for this purpose wheeling charges are levied on electricity bills.
Outraged BEST panel member Ravi Raja expressed, BEST stopped collecting TDLR charges so to make up for the losses they have suffered, they have brought up new charges which will increase electricity bill again. It is for the first time that we are seeing this category, which is Rs 1.42 per unit. In the past, we would only be billed for the energy charges.
But electricity wheeling tax were there from the begining, earlier, the wheeling charge was embedded in the energy charge. As per section 62 of the Electricity Act, the power tariff has to be shown as two components, the energy supply (content) and wheeling (carriage) charges. Now, in order to ensure that BEST consumers know the wheeling costs, the regulatory commission has put this charge separately in the new tariff, said BEST official.