Aurangabad: Getting authorised power connection for city-based Ganesh mandals is going to be an expensive affair this year. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Corporation Limited (MSEDCL) has decided to charge them more than residential tariff, which was not the case last year.
The state power utility will be offering power to these mandals at Rs 4.31 per unit towards temporary connection — 10 paise more than residential tariff (Rs 4.21 per unit). Last year, the MSEDCL had charged Rs 3.71 per unit from Ganesh mandals that was 6 paise less than residential tariff.
Charging more tariffs has not gone down well with the mandals, who said the move would further add to reluctance of mandals in drawing power in authorised manner during festive days.
Prithviraj Pawar, who heads the apex body of different Ganesh mandals in Aurangabad, said it was surprising on part of MSEDCL to increase tariff for mandals above the residential category.
“Several Ganesh mandals show reluctance in opting for temporary connections due to budgetary issues. And this tariff hike would further prevent many from getting authorised connections. It is unmindful on the part of the authorities concerned to increase tariff during festival days,” he said.
Around 5% of the total 1,400 Ganesh mandals in the city opt for authorised power connection every year, while other draws it from houses and nearby shops in an illegal manner.
When contacted, P S Patil, central public relation officer of MSEDCL, said the tariff has been increased for all categories after Maharashtra Energy Regulatory Commission’s (MERC) order during November last year.
“Even if the tariff for Ganesh mandals is little more than residential category, it is less by 2.99 per unit as compared to commercial category,” he added.
MSEDCL superintendent engineer M M Digraskar said the MERC has revised the tariff for temporary-religious category resulting into hike in power charges during Ganesh festival among other religious celebrations.
“Even if tariff for Ganesh mandals is 10 paise more than residential category, mandals can use unlimited power. For residential category consumers, the tariff increases to Rs 7.94 per unit post 100 unit consumption,” he said.
Meanwhile, stressing on drawing power in an authorised manner, MSEDCL authorities said all safety aspect of issuing power supply get followed if Ganesh mandals draw power in a legal manner.”A standard operating procedure is followed while issuing temporary connections that are safe to use. On the other hand, drawing power in an unauthorised manner involves huge risk and could lead to serious mishaps leading to even fatalities during festive season,” authorities said.
The MSEDCL has appealed to Ganesh mandals to follow a set of safety measures in order to avoid any untoward incident during the 10-day festival.
Accordingly, mandals have been asked to arrange lighting arrangements and other wiring networks with the involvement of authorised contractors. The power utility has recommended use of standardised material for wiring purposes to avoid short-circuit and other mishaps.
“During the ongoing rainy season, there is a possibility of electrocution due to open wiring. It could lead to serious consequence,” the MSEDCL has cautioned. Also, Ganesh mandals have been also advised to have separate neutrals for power supply and generators along with taking utmost precaution while carrying out processions using electricity arrangements.