The security deposit would be revised every alternative year based on their average bi-monthly billing amount.
Many consumers whose electricity charges went up following the lockdown and subsequent work from home would be caught unawares over the levy of the additional security deposit until they make payment for their routine bi-monthly electricity charge.
Ashwin, a resident of Ice House, said that he got an SMS from Tangedco to pay the current consumption charge of Rs 3,100 before the due date on May 13. “When I tried to pay the bill using PAYTM, it showed a due amount of Rs 7,060. There are no pending dues on my power connection. Only after logging into the Tangedco website, did I come to know they charged an additional security deposit of Rs 3,960. It is atrocious and they did not bother to even communicate about it, ” he said.
Several consumers have taken to social media questioning the timing of increasing the security deposit at a time when a lockdown is in place and asked the government to reconsider it. “TNEB is charging Rs 1,200 as additional security deposit this month on top of the normal monthly bill. This happens at a time when we are fighting the pandemic and also the DMK comes to power. Why is this amount being charged now without considering the people?” tweeted Gnanamurugan from Coimbatore tagging electricity minister V Senthil Balaji.
A senior Tangedco official said that the adequacy of the security deposit is reviewed and re-fixed once in two years in case of low tension consumers with bi-monthly billing during April/May. “The additional security deposit is levied automatically based on their consumption pattern and the security deposit available once in two years. Due to the prevailing second wave in the State, further course of action relating to the additional security deposit process has been kept in abeyance until further instructions. A circular memo has been issued in this regard on May 10,” the official noted.
Despite the Tangedco’s order, however, consumers said they were forced to pay the security deposit along with their monthly bill.