As more and more number of consumers from the island city, continue to receive hefty amount of electricity bills from the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking, opposition leader of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and BEST committee member, Ravi Raja has written a letter to Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar demanding immediate resignation of the BEST management, as they have been unresponsive to public complaints and are reluctant to meet public representatives for dialogue on this issue.
"The consumers are receiving hefty amount of electricity bills from BEST, we have approached the management committee to have a dialogue on this matter, however our appeals went unheard" Raja told FPJ.
In the letter, Raja has mentioned the resumption of standing committee meeting so that a no confidence motion could be passed against the BEST management board on the floor of BMC.
"Most of the consumers are receiving three times of the bill, meanwhile the complainants are not receiving answer for their complaints, if the authorities can't redress the grievances, then there's no point of them staying in the posts," stated the opposition leader.
Apart from regular domestic consumers, commercial users have also complained of not receiving regular monthly bills for the first two months. Shop owners and micro businessmen who had their shops closed during the entire lockdown period have also claimed to have been over billed between 15-30 per cent more than their usual consumption.
Sagar Gupta, a member of Lalbaugh market association told FPJ, that many shops in the Lalbaugh market area have not received any electricity bill since the lockdown period.
"Many shop owners have not received any electricity bill for the last three months, neither were we told the tariffs on which they will bill us again. We are quite apprehensive about the bill that we are ought to pay because we already have huge financial burden due to immense loss incurred to our business amid the pandemic," stated Gupta.
Parel based shopowner, Jagdish Gupte who have a novelty store claimed to have been over billed by nearly three times than his actual consumption.
"I have received a bill of Rs 7300, while my average monthly bill is around Rs 2,200-2,500. I have made several complaints however have not received any answer from anybody" stated the shopowner
Meanwhile the BEST in a statement earlier stated, during the lockdown period of April, May and June, BEST officials didn't conduct meter readings as per the orders of the governments, hence they charged the consumers on basis of estimated units.
However after the easing of the lockdown in mid July, the undertaking had resumed meter reading and hence have added the remaining units of the preceding months with the meter consumed in the present month.
"The customers have been charged on estimated amount earlier, now that we have started reading meters we are adjusting the amounts of the preceding months and are adding to ths unit consumed this month" stated BEST spokesperson Manoj Varade.
"If the earlier estimated amount was less than the consumption then the consumers are being required to pay more and in case the estimated amount is more than the units consumed, then consumers will get credit and benefits upon redressal of the issue" stated Varade.