Hot weather, lack of meter reading behind inflated bills: Adani Electricity

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 30, 2020

File photo   -  The Hindu

Adani Electricity Mumbai Ltd (AEML) has attributed the inflated power bills — which have raised concerns in recent days — to a combination of scorching summer and nil physical meter reading in the last three months.

An AEML spokesperson in a statement said: “We have re-started physical meter reading which was temporarily halted since March because of Covid-19. Bills were generated on the lower side, being an average of the preceding three months (bills of December, January and February), which are winter months.” Earlier, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) had ruled that June electricity bills be issued to consumers as per rules.

The spokesperson pointed out that actual consumption in April, May and June is comparatively higher due to the seasonal impact (summer) and increased usage as a result of the lockdown and work from home (WFH).

“Upon obtaining the actual meter reading in June, the consumers will receive adjusted bills and the bill amounts will be debited or credited basis actual consumption and by incorporating applicable tariff slab benefits. The bill amount for the past period shall be accounted as per MERC guidelines,” the spokesperson said.

For the last several days, Mumbaikars have complained about abnormally high bills which in many cases have been more than three times their normal usage. Under normal circumstances, the company would send a meter reader to visit households to record their electricity consumption every month.

However, AEML has maintained that due to the pandemic, meter reading was discontinued from March 22 (as per MERC’s directive) and has been gradually resumed from June.

AEML explained that as the weather tends to be hotter in April and May, households tend to use more electricity to power their fans or air-conditioners. In some segments, power consumption has increased by two-three-fold.

However, many consumers have complained of bills being sent to them when establishments were shut the lockdown. Adani explained that for consumers whose actual reading is not available, the assessed billing procedure is 10 per cent of the average energy consumption of the past three months to be billed to industrial and commercial premises that were under lockdown.

Holding charge

In case the amount paid based on the billing is higher than that payable as per actual reading (when the reading is taken), the holding charge is equivalent to the one-month Marginal Cost of funds based Lending Rate (MCLR) rate of SBI. Excess amount paid shall be credited to the consumer, the spokesperson said.

If the amount is lower than that payable as per actual reading, the carrying cost will be equivalent to the one-month MCLR rate of SBI as on billing date. To avoid carrying cost, a consumer can voluntarily pay any amount above the assessed bill which would be adjusted when billing based on actual reading is undertaken post lockdown, AEML said.

However, there are late charges applicable in case a customer doesn’t pay. If a customer has paid more than 80 per cent of the bill amount, delay payment charges on the unpaid amount will be reduced to 50 per cent.

Published on June 30, 2020

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