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EB tariff category changed sans inspection: Consumers

Under LT-1D tariff, a unit of energy will cost Rs 8. In addition, he also has to pay Rs 100 per kilowatt per month as fixed cost.

EB tariff category changed sans inspection: Consumers

CHENNAI: When he received the electricity bill for the last month, V Gopalakrishnan, a resident of MGR Nagar, was shocked. For, despite consuming 20 per cent lesser than the previous month, his bill has gone up more than 2.5 times – from Rs 770 for consuming 380 units in August to Rs 1,952 for consuming 300 units in September.

When he checked Tangedco’s online payment portal, Gopalakrishnan found that his house’s connection category has been changed to Common Supply LT-1D from domestic LT-1A without his knowledge. Under LT-1D tariff, a unit of energy will cost Rs 8. In addition, he also has to pay Rs 100 per kilowatt per month as fixed cost.

His residence has four dwelling units with four domestic power connections, all of which were in his father’s name. “Three units were occupied by my family, mother and sister’s family, while the remaining one is rented out,” he said, wondering how Tangedco could unilaterally change the tariff without physical verification.

After the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission issued the tariff order on September 10, the utility started field verification of individual houses with multiple domestic connections to find out whether the connections were provided with “permanent physical and electrical segregation”. As per the tariff order, only one service connection is permissible in an independent dwelling unit. “If more than one domestic connection co-exists already, only one service is eligible to be retained. The balance number of services should be converted to LT-1D tariff,” the order said.

Gopalakrishnan’s case is not an isolated one. J Jayakumar, general secretary of Tamil Nadu Progressive Consumer Centre and a resident of Pattabiram, said his electricity bill doubled after it was converted into a common supply tariff.

“In my building, I have four commercial and four domestic power supply connections for as many shops and residential units. Last month, I got a call from the local Tangedco office stating that one of the four domestic power connections would be converted into LT 1D tariff as per the new tariff order. They changed one of the connections used by the bachelors,” he said. It was only after receiving the bill that he realised that the common supply tariff was very high – as much as Rs 10 per unit with the fixed charges.

When asked, a senior Tangedco official admitted that converting multiple domestic connections into LT-1D tariff without field verification of physical and electrical segregation was wrong.

If two domestic connections exist for the same dwelling unit, they should either be merged as one or converted into LT-1D. However, the official added, “No rented or physically and electrically segregated units would be converted into common supply as per the Tamil Nadu Electricity Distribution Code.”

The official also denied reports that in cases where the same owner has more than four domestic connections, one of them was being converted into the more expensive LT-1D category.

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G Jagannath
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