Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) with a consumer base of 10.5 lakh in Mumbai, has proposed to give credit to the consumers who are overbilled and if recovery based on estimated bills is more than actual bills. Excess amounts after adjustment of the actual bill will be credited to the consumer account and they will earn extra credit at the prescribed holding charge.
Consumers will be given slab benefit by apportioning the actual consumption on a monthly basis. The delayed payment charges and interest on arrears will be calculated on the basis of actual consumption only and if excess has been recovered the same will be credited to the consumer account.
BEST’s move comes days after the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission had asked the distribution companies to address the issue of inflated bills received for the lockdown period. In response to MERC directives, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company and Adani Electricity have announced EMI facility, non-disconnection of power supply despite outstanding and a couple of other initiatives.
Further, BEST has started meter reading cycle wise in non-containment areas from June 15 in order to give bills to consumers on actual basis at the earliest. ‘’As a policy, no disconnections for outstanding payments have been carried out during the lockdown period to avoid any inconvenience to consumers. Wherever the bill is more than double that of the average for the period of March to May, consumers will be given the option to make payments in 3 EMIs with carrying cost,’’ said BEST chief engineer (customer care) Rajendra Patsute.
He informed that industrial and commercial consumers have been billed 10% of their estimated consumption from May 19 onwards. Industrial and commercial consumers are also allowed a three months moratorium on fixed charges. For all other consumers the estimated consumption during lockdown was based on consumption of March.
According to Patsute, in April, May and June the consumption generally increases. ‘’Also during lock down people were at home which may have increased residential consumption in many cases,’’ he noted.