Ever since the coronavirus lockdown was announced in late-March, people are cornered into unknown territory and exploring new ways of life and addressing newer challenges. From doing house chores to staying indoors most of the time, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way of life for many. With most businesses taking a massive hit, the government tried to offer some relief through packages, EMI moratorium and more. But one thing that has left many people red-faced, among other things, is the inflated light bill.
It's agreeable that people have stayed in their homes for almost three months, and naturally, the consumption of electrical equipment such as TV, washing machine, lights, ACs, and fans, have gone up. But many were shocked to see the electricity bill for the month of June and none were happy with it.
Several complaints poured in from Mumbai as they expressed grief and angst over the fact that their electricity bill for the month of June was preposterous. In most cases, the bills were more than double and even higher for some who couldn't figure out the reason for all they could try.
Electricity bills give shock
"Electricity bill in Maha is going to give heartache to the people. We were paying the monthly bills (varying from 5 to 7k, which were sent without meter readings). Now, the bill has come to 38k, deducting the payments already made. Even a closed flat in our bldg got 11k bill," Semu Bhatt, an independent strategic analyst tweeted.
Several users reported similar cases and some middle-class households even got a bill worth up to Rs 60,000 in the month of June. As for people whose house light bills never exceeded Rs 2,500 ended up getting Rs 7,000 bills.
Maha govt offers no respite
Acknowledging the suddenly inflated electricity bills, energy minister Nitin Raut announced on Tuesday that The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) hiked the power tariff from April 1 and not the state government.
"There has been no deliberate attempt to increase the amount. It may also be high because consumers were under lockdown in the house for three months and consumed extra power," Raut said.
However, if consumers are expecting some sort of relief on the electricity bills, they are in for a disappointment. The government is offering an option to pay the bills in installments and consumers can approach the MSEDCL facility for more details.