Producer pays more

Vidarbha cities granted zeroloadshedding; high charges sting

By Aparna Pallavi
Published: Thursday 31 December 2009

residents of Nagpur and Amravati cities in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra will be forced to pay twice as much for relief from loadshedding as cities in western Maharashtra. This is despite Vidarbha producing three times the electricity it consumes to meet 45 per cent of the states power needs.

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Board in November-end ordered freeing Vidarbhas two divisional headquarters of loadshedding but announced additional reliability charges at 51 paise per unit for Nagpur and 69 paise per unit for Amravati. Residents of Pune, Thane and Navi Mumbai in western Maharashtra will have to pay only 29, 28 and 23 paise per unit, respectively. Reliability charge is an additional per unit charge the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (msedcl) levies in cities freed of loadshedding.It is calculated on the basis of the additional electricity required to free a city of loadshedding and the transmission losses involved.

This additional charge will increase the electricity bill of an average middle-class family, consuming 150-200 units per month, by Rs 75-100 in Nagpur and by Rs 100-140 in Amravati.

Peoples representatives, consumer organizations and msedcl franchisee Vidarbha Industries Association (via) expressed resentment over the high reliability charges. Nagpur and its surrounding areas are paying with their environment and water resources for the power produced there, pointed out Nagpur mla Devendra Fadnavis while adding that reliability charges are unjustified.

In July 2008, msedcl had proposed reliability charges of 40 paise per unit for Nagpur and 57 paise per unit for Amravati, citing a power shortfall of 57 and 84 mw respectively, and transmission losses of 4.85 per cent.

During a public hearing on October 28 this proposal was opposed by all. via objected to inclusion of transmission losses in reliability charges for cities in Vidarbha as power needs would be met from the region itself. It suggested reducing the charges.

msedcl regional chief engineer Anil Khaparde, however, announced that the reliability charges would go up for Nagpur because an extra hour of loadshedding had been added since the July proposal. Why did msedcl wait till the hearing to spring this fact when load-shedding duration was increased months ago? asked Pradeep Jagtap of the consumer organization Janmanch.

It is obvious it was a ploy to hijack the debate and push the public out of the negotiation process, he said.

via energy cell chairperson R B Goenka said power purchase has been calculated for 12 months whereas the loadshedding months are only nine; monsoon months have been excluded from zero-loadshedding. Fadnavis has threatened an agitation if reliability charges are not accounted for.

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