The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) has placed before the power regulator a proposal to involve utility firms like BEST, Tata Power and Adani Electricity to raise a “corpus” of Rs 1,869 crore to cross-subsidise agriculture consumers across the state, a plan that has been criticised by consumers, activists and sectoral experts.
MSEDCL’s move is akin to the state-owned power firm “putting a tax” on Mumbai’s consumers to meet social and political objectives, experts said.
If implemented, every Mumbaikar who comes under Tata, Adani or BEST supply areas may have to shell out 33 paise extra per unit in monthly bills, which would be added to a corpus to subsidise electricity for over 40 lakh agricultural users.
According to MSEDCL sources, the suggestion is to spread out the fiscal burden across all of Maharashtra to cross-subsidise farm users. As of now, all urban areas and commercial users other than those in Mumbai pay a higher tariff to offset the waiver on agricultural pumps and other farm operations. More than 30% of MSEDCL’s consumption is by farm users which is why the subsidy is high.
The MSEDCL petition says, “Mumbai consumers have higher capacity to pay in comparison to the agriculture category consumers in state