MERC tells firm to explain ‘inflated’ power bills

Power regulator MERC on Tuesday issued a notice to Adani Electricity seeking an explanation on recent reports of consumers receiving “increased electricity bills”.

It pointed out that the average tariff increase approved by MERC for Adani was 0.24% and said that there were complaints from consumers about receiving electricity bills based on average energy consumption instead of actual meter readings. MERC executive director Rajendra Ambekar has asked the power utility firm to explain the matter and remedial steps. The direction comes close on the heels of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis directing energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule to conduct an inquiry into complaints of inflated power billing.

Sources questioned why the MERC reacted “late” as consumers had been complaining since November 20, and the issue had already been raised by city Congress president Sanjay Nirupam and BJP MLA Ashish Shelar. An MERC source said the commission had taken “suo motu cognizance” based on media reports.

Nirupam has now demanded that MERC should direct Adani to withdraw the hike in tariff and refund consumers.