Taapsi Pannu shares her high electricity bill
Taapsi Pannu shares her high electricity bill

Following a complaint by Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu over a Rs 36,000 bill, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) on Monday directed distribution companies such as Adani Electricity, MSEB, BEST, and Tata Power to give consumers the option to make the payment in three EMI instalments.

Here’s what you need to know about it

- EMIs can be paid when the bill is more than double of the average for the period between March 2020 and May 2020

- Distribution companies will not disconnect for non-payment until the bill related grievance is redressed, including exercising of choice for making payment in EMIs.

- MERC has directed distribution companies to set up a dedicated help desk/grievance Officer at sub division/division level for ensuring that grievances are responded to within a day of their receipt.

- Companies have been directed to provide consumers an online software utility for them to self-check their bills in terms of correctness of units consumed as per meter reading, applicable tariff rate, tariff slab benefits and comparison with corresponding period of last year. Further, internal controls to detect the Abnormal Usage, which are already in place, should be strictly implemented. If any excessive consumption is noticed, the meter reading should be rechecked on a suo motu basis.

- During lockdown, bills have been raised on actual consumption of the three months before March 2020 i.e. winter months where electricity bills were significantly lower. Current bills raised on actual meter readings are of the summer months where the consumption is normally high and the bills are always of higher amounts. Hence the balance amount payable after adjusting the average bill amounts for each of the three months -- March, April and May -- have led to a higher bill that was issued in June 9.

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