FAQs on inflated power bills: Here's all you need to know about high electricity bills during coronavirus lockdown
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It’s not just coronavirus, but Mumbaikars now plagued with inflated electricity bills. Many Mumbaikars, in the month of June, received bills that are twice or even four times more than their normal bill. But, there are several reasons for inflated electricity bills. And, if you are one of he unlucky ones to face the brunt, here we have tried to answer some basic questions.

Why are the bills high?

Consumers in Mumbai and its adjoining areas were shock to see inflated electricity bills. Some who used to an average monthly bill of Rs 500 have now received bills amounting to Rs 2,000. In some cases, the jump is from Rs. 2,000-3,000 per month to Rs 15,000 for the last month.

Consumers, particularly in Mumbai suburbs, Thane and Navi Mumbai have complained about inflated bills. This includes those from Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) supply areas, Tata Power, Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML) and the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking in Mumbai.

Some electricity providers are blaming more consumption in the last three months due to lockdown and the advent of summer.

While BEST is claiming they issued bills based on average energy consumption of previous months instead of actual metering. The BEST had stopped meter reading in March-end due to the lockdown. And now they have issued bills after taking the meter reading for the last three months. Owing to which many consumers have received inflated bills.

Meanwhile, Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML) has said that they restarted meter reading which was temporarily halted since March because of COVID-19. Bills were generated on lower side because they too, like the BEST, took an average of the preceding three months, that is December, January and February, which are winter months. And, during these months energy consumption is generally less and compared to summer months of April, May and June. Add to this work from home and lockdown. Now, the consumers will start receiving bills based on their actual consumption with appropriate tariff slab benefits. The bill amount for the past period shall be accounted for as per MERC guidelines.

What can one do if that person receives inflated bill? How to lodge a complaint?

After power distribution companies started receiving complaints, the distribution company (Discom), providers like the state-run Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution company Ltd (MSEDCL), civic-owned BEST and private run TATA Power, Adani, have set up a quick redressal cell to deal with the problem.

MSEDCL has decided to conduct meetings in big cooperative housing societies to help them understand the power tariffs that have been applied. Adani Mumbai Electricity Ltd (AMEL) has its dedicated 24x7 toll free helpline number 19122 where the customers can register their grievances. Tata Power has asked its customers to call on their 24x7 helpline 19123, write to customercare@tatapower.com or visit any of its operational customer relations centre.

If my bill correct? How to check

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) has launched a new website to where one can verify their electricity bill. "If U have received high consumption bill Or High amount Bill please visit below Link.....& Check your all Bill details. First avg bills & now reading bills all such bills are correct. You can verify ur bill on below link https://billcal.mahadiscom.in/consumerbill/," tweeted msedcl_ambernath west.

BEST consumers can visit ward offices to seek clarification about their bills.

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