CHENNAI: It would be a double tariff shock for the consumers living in the apartments, high rises and residential complexes with Tangedco proposing to create a separate high tariff category for common services like lighting, water pumping and lifts with a flat charge of Rs 8 per unit.
In a way, Tangedco would be the only discom in the country to categorise the common services used by domestic consumers in a separate non-domestic tariff category.
Under the proposed tariff revision, Tangedco has created a new tariff category 1-D for common services like lighting, water supply, lift for use of residents, sewerage treatment plant, water treatment plant, gym, swimming pool and fire hydrant provided to domestic consumers of multi-tenements, multi-storey flats and residential complexes. The domestic consumers in such apartments would be charged a flat rate of Rs 8 per unit and a fixed charge of Rs 100 per kW per month for the common services.
As of now, Tangedco was charging the common facilities like lighting, water pumps and lifts in the existing subsidised domestic tariff. The sewerage treatment plant, water treatment plant, gym, swimming pool and fire hydrant would be charged under LT V (Rs 5 per unit up to a consumption of 100 units and Rs 8.05 per unit above 100 units and a fixed charge of Rs 70 per kW per month) or HT III (Rs 8 per unit and demand charge of Rs 350 per KVA per month).
Interestingly, the Tangedco, which has compared the tariffs of other states to justify the steep hike proposal has done what other states have not done. States like Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and New Delhi are charging the common facilities at the apartments and residential complexes under the domestic tariff category.
K Kathirmathiyon, secretary, Coimbatore Consumer Cause said no other state in the country charge common services at higher non-domestic tariffs. “Tangedco was simply thinking they could collect high charges from people living in the apartments as they would share the bill. If a rich person lives in a bungalow with a swimming pool and gym, s/he would be charged domestic charges where as a person sharing common swimming pool or gym at an apartment will have to pay higher tariff. This is totally unfair,” he said, adding even if the TNERC agrees to Tangedco’s demand, it should be challenged in the court as it is totally wrong.
Arun Kumar, a resident of an apartment at Aynavaram said if the common services are charged a higher tariff, it would be a double tariff hike for the people living in apartments as they would be forced to pay more for own use and common consumption.
Harsha Koda, co-founder of the Federation of OMR Resident Associations (FOMRRA) termed the Tangedco’s proposal as unfair. He said residents living in the multi-storey building were already penalised by Tangedco for complying with the regulations to set up sewage treatment plants and fire safety systems by levying commercial tariffs. Now the common lighting, water supply and lifts are shifted from domestic to higher tariff category, he said, adding only residential activities happen at apartments.
A senior Tangedco official said the new tariff category would not burden the consumer as it would be shared by all. “The new tariff category was created to prevent the consumers from using 100 free units under the domestic category,” the official added.