Madras HC seeks TN Electricity Board’s response on hiked bill amount during lockdown

The government told the court that there was no violation in the calculation of the EB bill.
The HC seeks government's response on EB bill
The HC seeks government's response on EB bill
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The Madras High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) seeking a response within a week regarding the issue about the electricity bill generation during the lockdown period.

The Tamil Nadu government had on March 22 issued an order which stated that electricity consumption could be calculated during the COVID-19 lockdown period due to which the beneficiaries can pay based on the bill amount generated the previous month. The meter readings calculated every two months could not be calculated during the lockdown as the Electricity Board’s officials were unable to step outside.

Hence, the government had stated in its order that the electricity consumption would be calculated properly once the situation eased. The order further stated that the meter readings would be calculated for all the months of the lockdown once the situation eased. It mandated beneficiaries to pay the difference amount of the bills  by subtracting the amount already paid from the original bill amount. 

Countering this, ML Ravi, the chief of Desiya Makkal Katchi filed a petition with the Madras High Court earlier in June. In the petition, Ravi said that a beneficiary has to pay 14% additional charges at the end of the lockdown period since the bill is calculated at a stretch for four months and that people  would also have to pay the accumulated dues.

On Monday, the case came up for hearing before a bench of judges, Justice Subbiah and Justice Krishnan Ramaswamy. The counsel appearing for Ravi argued that the TNEB should cancel the order issued on March 22. The petition demanded that the electricity board should instead issue a fresh order facilitating the payment of EB readings for two months each.

However, the government stated that there was no violation in the calculation of the Electricity Board’s bills.

Recording the statement, the judges told the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board to file a response within a week and adjourned the case.

The controversy over the electricity bill started as the Electricity Board’s billing dues accumulate during the lockdown period and pose a financial burden for the people. The beneficiaries accumulating the dues for months should have to clear them in one cycle once the lockdown is lifted, according to the government order, which received severe flak from the public. 

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