Electricity consumers of private and public distribution utilities in Maharashtra may expect a Diwali gift as the government is likely to provide a much-needed relief in the inflated bills received during coronavirus lockdown.
The government, which faces a revenue shortfall because of economic downturn and lockdown, will have to shell out Rs 2,000 crore to provide subsidy to both the public and private distribution utilities. This was disclosed by the state energy minister Dr Nitin Raut on Monday after his visit at Tata Power’s Trombay generation plant.
After complaints from the consumers, the power distribution companies in a bid to follow directives given by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission provided some incentives but the consumers are not satisfied as they want more. Dr Raut said he had held discussions with the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and hoped that the government will take decision of providing relief in higher electricity bills by Diwali.
On October 12 power breakdown and failure of Mumbai islanding system, Dr Raut said three separate committees are currently inquiring into the incident. However, he admitted that power failure has certainly brought the need to further upgrade transmission and distribution systems in Mumbai and also increase generation in a bid to ensure reliable and quality power. This is necessary as Mumbai's electricity demand is expected to reach around 5,000 MW by 2030.“
“The power transmission system as well as the islanding system for Mumbai needs to be improved and efforts will be made to complete the modernization by next year, he said.
At present, two sets of the Tata power plant are closed and more power can be generated from them and the rate of electricity generated will be reasonable. Further, the minister suggested that Tata Power in a bid to provide a stable islanding facility can add 1,000 mw gas-based capacity at Trombay. “It’s an embedded generation potential in Mumbai,” he noted.
Dr Raut said the government and power utilities will propose necessary measures and they will be implemented with the approval of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission for the islanding system to be successful. Efforts will also be made to make State Transmission Utility more efficient.