Two PILs have been filed in the Bombay HC asking for relief from the exorbitant and unreasonable electricity bills. The petitioners named Mahibub Shaikh and Ravindra Desai raised the issue as several customers in the State complained about receiving inflated bills during the lockdown period of March and May.
The petition stated that though the consumers were expecting a bit hike in the electricity prices during the month of April and May, they are now shocked with the abnormal high priced bills. Both State and Private electricity distribution companies have showed the same trend of raising tariffs.
One of the petitioners contented that he recieved a bill which was 10 times higher than the normal consumption and he now fears that the service providers will demand late charges to recover the due amounts. Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) is being claimed for increasing tariff for all power slabs and categories.
The petitioner Shaikh argues that due to this increase in the tariffs, lower middle class and middle class people will suffer the most as people are already facing difficulties and crisis during the lockdown period. He states that ‘’the rise in tariffs is arbitrary, unreasonable and detrimental to the interest of several lakhs of the citizens who are suffering’’.
The petitioners demanded for a reduction in the bill for the month of June or to adopt the previous revised tariff which existed prior to Apr 1, 2020 and steps should be taken for avoiding such circumstances in the future. Energy Minister of the State, Nitin Raut, declared that the consumers can avail the option of paying the bill in three installments and people who will pay their bills in the month of June in a lump sum amount, they will be given a discount of 2%.
These matters are yet to be heard by the Court in due course.