Severe heat wreaks havoc in Mumbai, people forced to pay double the electricity bill

The summer of 2024 has not been normal for the Indian financial capital Mumbai. The scorching heat conditions, with temperatures reaching 43 degrees in areas like Dombivali, have led to a significant increase in power consumption in Mumbai, almost doubling the electricity bills of consumers in the city and its suburbs.

Many consumers of Mumbai’s four power distribution companies – Tata Power Company, BEST, Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company – saw their bills increase by 50% to 80%, with some even doubling their bills compared to the previous month.

According to power distribution company officials, excessive use of air conditioners, running them for 3-4 hours during the day and then again at night, is the biggest culprit. Summer vacations and people staying indoors add to the total bill. Also, high consumption led to a change in tariff slabs, which many consumers were unaware of. Distribution companies conducted awareness campaigns in their respective areas, making customers aware of their consumption patterns and ways to control excessive consumption.

Power company officials say that for consumers who traditionally consume more power, predictive analytics was used to find out their usage and messaging and email campaigns were run to make them aware of expected slab changes and how they can reduce usage. The campaign has led to a 15-20% reduction in complaints about bill hikes, the official said.

A look at Mumbai electricity rates

Electricity rates in Mumbai are divided into unit slabs: 1-100, 101-300, 301-500, 501-1,000 and above 1,000 units. The tariff increases with each slab. For state-run distribution company MSEDCL, the charge for up to 100 units is Rs 4.41, for 101-300 units it is Rs 9.64, for 301-500 units it is Rs 13.61, and for 501-1,000 units and above it is Rs 15.67. According to details shared on power bills, MSEDCL is one of the most expensive distribution companies in Mumbai and suburban region.

A Tata Power official said the tariff hike from April 1 for FY25 and fuel adjustment charges also contributed to the overall increase. However, he added that the biggest factor was higher consumption due to the change in slabs. The overall increase in tariff was around 10-11%, which in itself is not enough to impact bills significantly.

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