The Maharashtra Government will have to shell out Rs 2,000 crore to provide subsidy to the public and private electricity distribution companies to waive part of electricity bills. The proposed waiver is to provide a much needed relief to the electricity consumers who received inflated bills during lockdown. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday evening chaired a meeting with the energy department officers but it was concluded without any decision.
The energy minister Dr Nitin Raut, who was at Nagpur, could not attend the meeting. The energy department officer told Free Press Journal the cabinet at the meeting slated for Wednesday may take decisions on providing required money towards subsidy. The government intends to provide subsidy to state run Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MahaVitaran) with a consumer base of over 2.50 crore, Tata Power (over 7 lakh) Adani Electricity (30 lakh) and BrihanMumbai Electric Supply and Transport (1o lakh).
The officer said it will be for the first time such a subsidy is being proposed for both the public and private power distribution companies. “This has to be provided through budget. Because of the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown, there has been a shortfall in the revenue and financial condition is precarious. The finance department has certain objections which will be discussed at the cabinet and decision is expected on Wednesday,’’ he added.
In the meanwhile, it was decided to ask all power distribution companies to launch a massive campaign for the detection of faulty metres and replace them with new ones. They will also be told to find out whether the faulty meter was one of the leading reasons for the inflated bills received by the consumers in June and July.