Maharashtra: 'Electricity Bill No Proof That Structure Is Authorised,' Says MSEDCL

Maharashtra: 'Electricity Bill No Proof That Structure Is Authorised,' Says MSEDCL

MSEDCL proposes to insert new statement in applications and bills

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, November 30, 2023, 06:12 PM IST
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Representational photo | Pixabay

The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd (MSEDCL) has suggested that it will insert a statement in the electric bills that the electric bill issued is not proof that the premises, where the electricity is being supplied, is authorised. 

The suggestion was given by the MSEDCL counsel Deepa Chavan during the hearing in a suo motu PIL initiated by the Bombay High Court on the issue of an unauthorised four-storeyed residential building in Ghansoli in Navi Mumbai. Out of the 29 flats in the Om Sai apartments, 23 are occupied, five are locked while one is vacant. It was earlier stated that of these 29 flats, 17 flats had electric metres from MSEDCL. 

The MERC (Electricity Supply Code and Standards of Performance of Distribution Licensees including Power Quality) Regulations, 2021 stipulates: “This application for power supply when processed and considered by the Distribution Licensee, cannot be treated or utilised as the proof that the premises for which the power supply is sought is an authorised 2 structure nor would such consideration of an Application by the Distribution Licensee amount to proof of ownership of the premises.” 

Chavan said that the MERC can issue Practice Directions, in public interest, for incorporation of the statements. Hence a request has been sent to the MERC and once approved, all electricity suppliers will be informed to add the said statement in their application forms and electricity bills. 

Regular electricity, water supply to unauthorised structures

A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata had earlier remarked that despite several structures being unauthorised, they have regular electricity and water supply. 

During the hearing on THursday, the HC noted in its order that they added MSEDCL as respondent to the suo motu PIL since they found that the illegal buildings had power supply. “Later electricity bills are produced to suggest that because there is power supply, therefore the structure not only existed but is all legal and authorised,” the bench noted. 

It added that the power supply is merely a service which is being provided. “It (power supply) has nothing at all to do with the legality of the construction, but is merely a service that is being provided to various licencees to use power.” 

The court lamented that there have been instances where illegal structures have been erected and later the persons concerned have approached the authorities for regularising the same. 

"What’s the difference between slums and these structures? None”

“This would lead to complete anarchy and everyone would put up (illegal) structures and then pay a penalty to regularise it. What’s the difference between slums and these structures? None,” said Justice Patel.

The HC has kept the matter for further hearing on January 3.

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