Dealing a high voltage shock, the electricity bill arrears in Maharashtra has touched a whopping Rs 39,000 crore - leaving the state power distributor in the doldrums.
The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd (MSEDCL) or Mahavitaran said that the arrears spread across categories and to beat the problem a disconnection drive is being carried out.
"This may have a huge impact on the operations and maintenance, which is very essential for the routine consumer service as well as the power purchase," Mahavitaran said in a press statement on Tuesday.
With the summer setting in, it appears that there could be a need for load-shedding because of the financial health of MSEDCL.
The total arrears of 1.41 lakh consumers across categories is Rs 39,000 crore at the end of January, 2018.
Explaining the way forward, MSEDCL states: "Even if the aim of Mahavitaran is not to make profit, considering the current financial situation, it is very essential to recover money from each unit used by the consumers. Every month 85 % to 90 % of the total spending is on electricity purchase. As credit system has been over in the electricity sector, it is essential to recover 100 % arrears along with the current monthly electricity bills of the consumers."
The management of MSEDCL appealed to the consumers to pay their dues. "The Maharashtra Government along with Mahavitaran has implemented various schemes for the consumers. However, the consumer are not giving expected response despite repeated request by Mahavitaran to participate in these schemes. After trying all these options, Mahavitaran started the direct disconnection drive for the recovery of the arrears," it said.
The state shells out a significant amount to purchase power to tide over the production-supply gap.
According to the Economic Survey of Maharashtra for the year 2017-18, the power purchase bill of Mahavitaran and BEST (which supplies only in Mumbai), in 2015-16 was Rs 47,696 cr, 2016-17 (Rs 47,761 cr) and 2017-18 (Rs 33,709 cr up to October, 2017).